A couple were struck and killed by an SUV while enjoying a cycle ride on the bike lane of Miami’s Rickenbacker causeway on Sunday.
Yaudys Vera, 48, an upholsterer who specialized in boat and car work, and his girlfriend Ogniana Reyes, 46, were pronounced dead on the scene by Miami Fire Rescue when they arrived on the scene of the accident.
Both had children from previous relationships, with cops saying they were killed instantly by the impact.
The driver of the Jeep Grand Cherokee was given several citations but hasn’t been charged with a crime. It is believed that the incident was an accident.
Disturbing photos show how the front of the SUV sustained heavy damage from the impact with Vera and Reyes.
The double-tragedy is the latest in a series of incidents involving cyclists to blight the Rickenbacker Causeway. While the causeway has a bright green bike lane along both edges, safety campaigners are now calling for a barrier to be installed to avoid future deaths.
Yaudys Vera, 48, (left) an upholsterer who specialized on boats and cars, and his girlfriend Ogniana Reyes, 46, (right) have been identified as the two victims of the accident
A driver struck and killed two cyclists on the Rickenbacker Causeway in Miami on Sunday afternoon. The driver was given several citations but hasn’t been charged with a crime
Vera and Reyes were biking towards Key Biscayne in the bike lane approaching the William Powell Bridge on Sunday around 5:00pm when they were struck.
Miami police told NBC 6 South Florida that the driver was in an exit lane on the far-right of the road, but changed lanes to the left to avoid the exit. The driver passed over the bike lane during the lane change and struck the cyclists.
‘He ran them over… killed them instantly,’ a witness, Biagio Mazzeo, told NBC 6. ‘It’s really, really sad.’
The scene from the accident showed the shattered remains of Vera’s and Reye’s bicycles laying side-by-side, bent wheels and pieces of twisted metal spread out across the green paint of the bike lane, and two pairs of sunglasses askew on the pavement.
The driver’s Jeep SUV was also damaged, its hood crumpled, headlights blown out, and windshield shattered.
Investigators on the scene of the accident on the Rickenbacker Causeway on Sunday afternoon. The driver cooperated with investigators and remained on scene for several hours
One of the victims of the accident during the investigation on Sunday evening. The driver crossed the bike path while changing lanes and struck the victims
The mangled remains of Vera’s and Reyes’ bikes at the accident scene. Theirs is the latest in a series of fatal car-on-bike accidents that have occurred on the causeway over the years
Police say that the driver was cooperative, and remained with police for several hours at the accident site before being released with citations.
‘It’s still under investigation but it’s most likely something that is carelessness rather than anything that had to do with alcohol or anything to that effect,’ Miami Police Officer Michael Vega said.
Vera leaves behind two teenage sons, and Reyes leaves behind a 15-year-old daughter.
‘[Reyes] was a very beautiful woman, young, very athletic,’ Reyes’ neighbor, Maria Sanchez said.
Vera (above) leaves behind two teenage sons, and Reyes leaves behind a 15-year-old daughter.
A neighbor of Vera said that the father and his sons were close.
‘It’s pretty rough ’cause he got along good with his kids,’ the neighbor said.
Concern over the safety of cyclists on the Rickenbacker Causeway were raised 10 years ago after a cyclist was killed by a hit and run driver. Rumble strips were installed along the causeway bike lane in response to the crash.
Three years later another cyclist was killed by a car, and the lanes were painted in bright green paint.
Safety advocates are now pushing for considerably more substantial measures to be put in place on the causeway.
Local safety advocate Frankie Ruiz told CBS 4 Miami that he is advocating for a barricade that would fully separate the bike lane from the road.
‘That idea I think is a true separation, that there be a protected lane for cyclists and pedestrians. Because right now all we have is rumple strips and green paint.’