by Naja and Arnaud Girard

The worst picture you could ever imagine of your car would probably be the one where it’s stopped in the middle of the highway, at night, with the handlebars of a bicycle sticking out from beneath your tires.

“I didn’t see him. A guy on a scooter just started yelling at me….So I looked over there.” the driver told us.

He said he just heard the kid bump the car and out of the darkness a shirtless kid went tumbling and rolling onto the asphalt, illuminated in the car’s headlights. “I never saw him. I have no idea how it happened.”

Unfortunately in Key West what happened on Wednesday night is hardly an isolated incident. We gathered opinions from some of Key West’s leading bicycling advocates, like Tom Thieson, aka ‘The Bike Man’, who owns 500 bikes:

“Is that why they call you ‘The Bike Man’ ?” “Yeah, that’s why and also they call me Bike Man because I’ve got the biggest ding-dong’s on the island.”

Ahh, we can’t explain that one, afraid you’ll have to watch the video… it’s pretty much self-explanatory…

And be sure to make it to the end of the video and catch MC COUSCOUS and Briana Ansara performing their great Key West original song, “SLOW DOWN.”




Join Allison Higgins

at the City of Key West – Preserve Island LIfe Campaign’s Event

Green Drinks

Bicycle Friendly Workshop

with Allison Higgins

January 21, 5:30 – 7 pm,

Muse Bar upstairs

Kelly’s Caribbean Bar & Grill

301 Whitehead St., Key West.


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10 thoughts on “KEY WEST: CAPITAL OF BIKE CRASHES, Locals Talk About What To Do

  1. We always see Key West bicycle accident rates compared to other cities of the same size (population). I would like to see us compared to other cities that have the same bike ridership per capita. There may not be any. We have far more bicycles per person than any other city I have seen in Florida.

  2. Other than the bicycle wrecks, the bicyclist scenes in the video are quite a bit more Hollywood-ish than what I see day and night pedaling my bicycle all over Key West, and I wonder how much the bicycle rescue fellow, whom I seldom see on the streets, paid the blue paper for that fantastic leading role and free advertising? I have never seen Naja and her husband co-publisher Arnaud on bicycles; when I see them, they are on their moped, or in their car. Not by coincidence, I got involved yesterday on Facebook in a long tread about a recent bicycle accident on North Roosevelt Blvd., all of which thread is in today’s “enigmas and other endangered species in Key West” post at

  3. How about the damage that bicyclists do when they refuse to obey the law? They run red lights, run stop signs, go the wrong way on one-way streets, hit parked cars and in the case of someone I know who was featured in the Blue Paper in 2010, one caused serious injury and massive hospital expense when he ran a stop sign and hit a scooter driver. The bicyclist? Moved from his apartment by noon that day since he had a rap sheet a mile long. The scooter driver? Loaded now with plates, screws and some permanent injuries. Let’s not even get into the medical cost that wasn’t covered by insurance, since the KWPD failed to drug test the obviously drunk bicyclist. (There is a fund in Florida for those injured by drunks or drug impaired, that will pay towards things like ambulance that may not be covered by insurance, but the cops have to do their job and drug and alcohol test. Too much to expect for Key West’s ‘accident specialist’, I guess.)

  4. Perhaps bicyclists will come to the next city commission meeting and during closing citizen comments tell the mayor and city commissioners and city manager and city attorney that the bike lanes on North Roosevelt Blvd obviously are inherently dangerous and should be removed from that road and new signs saying bicyclists must use side walk and not road replace current signs indicating bike lane on North Roosevelt Blvd. Perhaps bicyclists telling those city officials that will get them to thinking about the city being sued over the city maintaining a death trap, which the city knows is a death trap. Yes, that’s the Florida Department of Transportation’s road, and it’s a US highway, but it’s also inside the city limits and the design was signed off on by the City Commission.

  5. Bike Man’s plan is much needed. Seems simple enough. But, I think we have a bigger problem here. It is not only motor vehicles we bicyclists need to fear. It is also other bicyclists that chose to ignore the traffic patterns and signs. Another bicyclist turning the wrong way onto a one-way street or running a stop sign without looking has almost hit me on more than one occasion. The laws of the street are not in place to annoy us, they are to help us stay organized and safe. They are not just a suggestion, as some may think. Disregard for these conventions show a lack of courtesy and regard for others. When I see a young boy of about 11 blow through a stop sign at Ashby and Seminary, which is NOT a four-way stop, it scares me, but I am not surprised, they probably learned this behavior from their parents. I regularly see parents with kids in tow disregarding street signs. Tourists may be clueless, but local bicyclists need not be. I wonder how many bike crashes do not get reported by the media? Apparently alot. I’d like to see these crashes, even small ones, exposed by the Blue Paper or Citizen in order to create more awareness of the problem, and hopefully remind parents and everyone that bike safety is a two-way deal. It’s not just car and scooter vs. bike. Bicyclists have an obligation to follow the signs, too. It’s simply the right thing to do for everyone. And it is really not that hard at all. Yes, cars need to slow down, but so do bicyclists. A 10 second stop at a sign or a 2 minute detour around a one way street is not going make a big difference in how fast you get to where you are going.

  6. Key West’s illustrious “Hatman”, who lives in his vehicle and, in the past, as gone out of the way to provoke KW police, and who has had rounds in court with them, told me the other day that he was ticketed by a KW cop for not giving a hand signal before he turned. I said I hardly ever saw bicyclists give hand signals, I only give them when I want to make sure someone on my tail sees I’m turning, or to indicate to traffic waiting at a crossing street that I am turning there and it’s okay for them to cut me off and go out into the roadway. I have seen and heard of bicyclists getting ticketed for crossing against green lights on Duval Street, while a few or a lot of pedestrians did the same thing in the same moment, and the cop paid them no mind, even though they were shielding the bicyclist from cars, trucks, mopeds, etc. The few times I have suggested to the mayor and city commissioners that they bicycle to city commission meetings, and they require city employees living in Key West to bicycle to work, was met with blank stares. A week ago, I took my car to a garage I had used for years, for them to sell it. I haven’t missed that car yet. About the only time I used in in Key West was to go to the public laundry. I have a backpack now big enough to hold all of my dirty laundry, which I can wear on my back when I bicycle to the public laundry. All the talk in Key West about going green is ridiculed by all the cars, trucks, mopeds, cruise ships, hauling plant waste and garbage to the mainland, prohibiting white roofs and solar panels on roofs, and not recycling treated waste water, and not trapping rain water in cisterns, which used to be how fresh water was obtained down here, and there was an underground fresh water aquifer under Solares Hill, which is still there but I hear it is polluted now.

  7. Another one-sided report from the Blue Paper. They talk about the big, bad motor vehicle operators, but neglect to mention those bicycle operators who cause a significant portion of the problem (as accurately denoted by Sue and Jayne. I operate BOTH kinds of vehicles, and when I’m on my bike I harken back to my days as a ship driver…the “rule of gross tonnage” says that, regardless of the law, the bigger vehicle is going to win the fight. It kills me when I see arrogant bicyclists riding slowly down the middle of the lane “exercising their rights”. Or people riding their bikes on the narrow and dangerous stretch of Flagler between White and Bertha Streets…of course you CAN do it, but it certainly makes more sense to use one of the very close and parallel options (Johnson or Von Phister) where you can safely have the whole road to yourself. You can exercise your rights right into your grave! Common sense, common courtesy and a little patience on BOTH sides will go a long way…

  8. Is there enough room in that right lane for a bicycle AND a car, or say a 10 wheeler? I do not know, but surely if there is, then we need to have those thin rubber flexible pipes all along there to protect the bikes. Cameras are in order of course but that shold really help unless I do not understand the problem well enough. I for one use SOUTH Roosevelt where there is plenty of room, or Flagler. Not a bad bicycle trek back across the island south to north if one needs to get to that area. White street south to north is much better than Palm avenue also.

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