***THIS ARTICLE IS SATIRE***
We at Save Key West decided to investigate the frazzled state of our Key West streets and are exploring the question, should the city temporarily ban bicycles? The following is our report.
According to un-named city officials, our streets have become overcrowded to the point that something has to give. A new state law (Florida statute §316.083) has recently gone into effect that requires a 3-foot horizontal buffer zone between bikes and cars. It is common knowledge that Key West’s streets are quite narrow and that the roadway is partially used for parking (storage) … which leaves a very limited area for a car or large truck to safely maneuver. This results in a hazardous situation with bicyclists.
“There just isn’t any room left for them! We don’t want to endanger the lives our citizens and visitors, un-documented or legal! We’re opening our selves up for a fatality or even worse a really big and expensive lawsuit” the city says.
County tax revenue office reports a negative contribution by bicyclists,”They put a lot of strain on our local services, automobiles pay a lot of road use tax so deserve more space.” A recent survey estimated 20,000 bicyclists in Key West. “We have been looking into program where everyone can turn in their bike to be recycled and we give them a gas station gift card equal to the scrap value … If they all buy new cars, the fees from tax, tags, titles, fuel tax and parking fees would generate at least $6.5 million into city coffers … which would get the city out of debt by 2016.”
The city transportation department explains, “The average old town street is 32 ft wide. 1 parked car on each side equals 7+7=14 ft and 2 moving vehicles 7+7+=14 allowing 6 inch clearance for side view mirrors = 31 ft leaving only 1 ft for a bicyclists, less than the 3ft minimum ‘safe distance’ for passing a cyclist and when the passing vehicle is large, towing a boat or trailer or tour train/ trolley tour bus, or traveling at much higher speed, greater lateral clearance is needed ‘their lack of ability to interface with larger vehicles may result in property damage and possible loss of life.’” With the new 3 ft minimum buffer zone, the bike lanes on Fleming and Southard are now insufficient, “We probably have to take the paths out or we could be liable.” It is not like the city hasn’t tried, they have been working on the North Roosevelt bike path for over 20 years now and have given up considerable city revenue removing parking meters in over 10 parking spots to place in bike racks.
According to code enforcement, Key West business are required to provide adequate parking for their customers, but you have to actually be shopping there. Most old town residences converted their driveways into pools or garage apartments years ago. If we mess with parking, we will upset a lot of tourists, car campers, and multiple vehicle families, seasonal residents and year rounders too.” They do admit though that there would be less traffic, air and water pollution if there was no need to drive around and around looking for free spot to store your car
We took to the streets to find out what the locals thought of the idea of a ban.
– Bill, a construction manager from South Carolina wondered , “A 3-foot horizontal buffer zone ? My military edition hummer has a 3ft vertical clearance as well so bikes aren’t a problem for me.”
- Dayna, a local artist says, “Banning bikes! What a great idea! When I whiz by those bikes in my BMW convertible, my dogs just go crazy for those shiny spinning wheels. I worry they will get hurt jumping out at such high speed.”
- Theo, a local coffee shop owner said, “Look at that bike rack out front of my store taking up a perfectly good parking space. I could put another red hummer in there!”
- Svetlana, a new winter resident asks, “Is it really necessary to clutter the road with those things? They have spinning classes at the gym were they can do it out of the way.”
- We have to agree with Tom, a local food and beverage manager when he notes “It is always them cyclists complaining about pollution and stuff … why if they got a truck with windows and A/C like real people, they wouldn’t whine about it.”
- We talked with the islands new go-green initiative “People think bikes are clean, but in fact peddling reduces our islands oxygen and creates Co2 and other deadly gasses. Their carbon foot print is more pronounced on a 4 sq mile island”.
- Steve, a visitor from Norway, Maine “It is simple man, it’s the rule of tonnage out there! If you can’t get it up to speed, something’s gonna give and it ain’t gonna be my F350 turbo diesel.
- Just talk to Juan, county beach resident “After colliding with a Cadillac Escalade the other day, I spent 3 hours buffing it out by hand. Luckily it was only my leg that was fractured.
We also hear comments such as “All these bikes make Key West look like a 3rd world country.” and “I thought bikes were for kids till I moved here.”
- Dane, a stock island live-aboard believes that it is time to give up his bike. “It is dangerous out their man. I feel safer on the bus.”
- Captain Allen, a local boat builder quips “I like my bike, its red.”
- Dave, a NYC city engineer says, “I think the money Key West spends on bike racks would be better put to the feasibility of a public awareness campaign to promote my O.O.P.S. (optional ocean current powered subway system).
- On a brighter note, Kimmie of the Key West Bike Club is talking to some insurance companies about providing a group plan for liability and collision coverage for Key West bicyclists. It will only work if the city will make it mandatory for all riders, enforced by yearly bike registration and operator licenses and inspections. Prices are coming in at $700 per year per adult, $500 per child (PIP not available though).
The city also generates 39% of its revenue from parking meter collections, broken meter and overtime fines in what could be a bike lane. “If they can come up with $ 5.2 million per year, we could open the lane up for the bikes, but not until 2021 when the city’s contract with its new computerized metering system expires.” In any case, the ban would only be “temporary … until people stop using cars,” the city said.
Note, this article is satire. We wrote it to bring awareness to the fact that we’ve always had a safe lane for all human powered transport joggers,speed walkers, roller bladers,bicycles, etc… but our cars are parked in it.
as John Lennon might have said if here were on the island …
Imagine there’s no on-street parking
It’s not that hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no pollution too
Imagine all the people
riding the streets in peace…
You may say I’m a dreamer
I hope I’m not the only one
I hope some way you’ll join us
And Key West will be a greener one