Yellow Menace
August 24, 2008

 

At this moment, we have no idea what happened (or didn’t) when a cab driver crashed into a pack of bicyclists on the MacArthur Causeway.  At this writing, police are still out there in the eastbound lanes with the Checker Taxi, its windshield shattered and caved in, several twisted bike frames under its front bumper.

 

But if you ever drive in Miami Beach, you can’t be surprised.

 

As far as I know, records of accident reports are not searchable by cabbie involvement.  Maybe more telling is that no statistics show how many traffic citations cabbies receive.  My guess is, not nearly enough.  

 

Who has not been tailgated, cut off, or nearly blown off the road by a cab driver using the speed limit as a suggestion? 

 

A busy residential road that I travel daily has speed limit signs that seem to be spaced every 10 feet.  Police patrol with radar guns and ticket books fairly regularly, and they’re shooting fish in a barrel.  But the cars they pick off and pull over are not the taxi cabs. 

 

A few years ago, a cabbie bringing me home from the airport laughed at me when I asked him to slow down.

 

Maybe they get a break from the law because they carry the precious cargo of the tourist trade.  Maybe they draw a bit of look-the-other-way sympathy because they need a decent driving record to earn a living.  Aren’t those are some of the very reasons cab drivers should be held to a higher standard?

 

Remember the Miami Nice campaign a few years ago?  Cabbies were trained as “hosts with the most” because they are a tourist’s first encounter with South Florida hospitality (hold the jokes).   I’d just be happy if they were held to the same rules of the road as the rest of us.

 

So, apologies in advance if the cabbie who creamed the bicyclists this morning had a medical issue or some other mitigating circumstance.  That said, buckle your seatbelt.

 

**Update – 11am Monday, 826 west:

Mario and I are heading to a press conference, talking about the taxi/bike crash, when a Yellow Cab cut off another driver in front of us.  Five minutes later at our exit, the cabbie cut us off so he could exit right from the left lanes.   Then he pulled off to the side on 72nd Ave., and when we pulled up along side of him, he was studying a map

ith the car load of people he had as fares.

 

He looked up and saw the giant Local10 live truck next to him.  We rolled down the window and asked if he were lost.  He was.  We sent him on his way with directions.

 

How I wish we’d had the time and opportunity to interview the tourists in his cab about their impressions of a Miami taxi driver who couldn’t get them to a destination on numerically arranged streets. 

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