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Friday, September 13, 2013

The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act

A legislative proposal, known as the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act seeks to create tougher penalties for drivers who leave the scene of a hit and run bicycle accident. This was the case with Aaron Cohen, where the driver who killed him, was given less than a year in jail for the crime. The grassroots effort is committed to changing the law.

On February 15, 2012, Aaron Cohen was killed while riding on the Rickenbacker Causeway.

According to the Miami Herald: "The Aaron Cohen Act proposes a mandatory minimum sentence of three years for drivers who leave the scene of an accident resulting in injuries. Fleeing drivers who seriously hurt or kill someone would face a mandatory seven or 10 years, respectively. They would also have to complete driver education courses about 'vulnerable road users,' such as cyclists, pedestrians and emergency service workers."

There is a petition for the Aaron Cohen Law here to get the law enacted. 

As a friend says, "It is critical that the State Enacts the law to protect our cyclists and to punish irresponsible drivers."

Interestingly enough, on Thursday, Carlos Bertonatti was sentenced to 12 years in jail plus eight years probation after that. Bertonatti also drove away from a hit and run of a cyclist on Key Biscayne. A lot of it has to do with plea deals and how the victim's family feels about the situation. Their feelings are taken into consideration. 

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5 Comments:

Anonymous James W. said...

I was rather disappointed with the article in today's Herald about Bertonatti's sentence. They almost painted it as him being a victim, how 12 years was much to long for killing someone. To think that he deserved just 4 years (what the defense wanted) for killing someone just boggles the mind.

September 13, 2013 7:55 AM  
Blogger Rafael Gutierrez said...

I personally fully support the Aaron Cohen Act. Tougher laws are required to punish those who robbed someone the precious gift of live and the pain caused to family and friends. On a daily basis from sunrise to sunset cyclists ride on Bayshore Drive and Tiger Tail, two extremely narrow and busy streets, the probability of one of them getting killed are extremely high. The expected increase in moving traffic flow the proposed Grove Harbour Project will triple the changes of cyclists or pedestrians being killed. Let's stand together to protect our Quality of Life Living by signing the Aaron Cohen Act petition and standing up against the proposed project.

September 13, 2013 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carlos Bertonatti was drinking (and maybe taking drugs) at Club Space on NE 11th Street. Club Space is open 24/7. Guess which Commissioners received campaign contributions from Club Space?

September 13, 2013 7:01 PM  
Blogger Sledge said...

Rafael is right. South Bayshore Drive is extremely dangerous for cyclists. So is Tiger tail, but a little safer, less traffic, usually.

I've been an avid cyclist for eight years, and live in South Bayshore Dr. Now I do not dare to ride the bike here on weekdays, I only venture down to Key Biscayne from here (Fresh Market) early on weekends. I've seen too many close calls and already broke 2 helmets and cracked my head once. Falling on a bike is extremely dangerous, and many drivers just hate cyclists, and don't like to share the road. They think bikes belong on parks or the sidewalks, and that's ridiculous. We do 20 and 30 Mph on road/speed bikes.

So now I'm cycling a lot less, and never take S. Bayshore on weekdays. You have to drive to Key Biscayne, with the bike on a rack. So I'm running instead, until early on weekends. You can also go South, we leave from the Circle for long rides.

Be careful out there.
Carlos Iglesia

September 14, 2013 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Harry Emilio Gottlieb said...

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/13/v-print/3625199/will-bikers-feel-threatened.html

Will bikers feel threatened?

Thanks to ALEC, the NRA and irresponsible Florida legislators, we have the Stand Your Ground law, which helps protect anyone who feels threatened even when outside of their domicile.

So I guess it won’t be long before the law is tested on Rickenbacker Causeway. A Key Biscayne resident might be driving home some morning when he crosses into the bike lane. This happens too often when drivers are inebriated or feeling the immediate need to respond to a text message.

The cyclist or group of cyclists obey the law, riding in the bike lane and use both front and rear illumination. But a driver in the 2,000-pound car is annoyed just the same and honks the car horn and nearly frightens the cyclists to death.

They are familiar with the stories of hit-and-run accidents on the causeway. They have seen the white memorial bike installed on the south side of Bear Cut Bridge. They don’t want to be the next fatality. So they decide to speed up and hope the driver will have to come to stop at the traffic light near Rosenstiel.

Lo and behold, the light changes, and the car is waiting there when the cyclists arrive. They feel that they were placed in danger and are assured that “Stand Your Ground” will also apply to “Stand Your Bike Lane.” So until wiser Florida legislators get elected and Stand Your Ground is improved drastically, it may behoove drivers to be a little more cautious and a lot more polite to cyclists.

September 14, 2013 8:52 PM  

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