Miami Travel Blog Warns Pedestrians, “We’re Not Stopping for You”

UPDATE: We have been informed by the editor of the website that the article was intended to be satire and “warn” “naive” out-of-towners about Miami’s dangerous roads. Satirical or not, it’s clear that road conditions in South Florida are pretty screwed up. Seems to us, it’s drivers who should be warned.

At first we were sure this was a joke. But our friends in Miami assure us it isn’t.

A Miami travel blog called Miami Beach 411 earlier this week published a hateful, almost unbelievable (we’re still not 100 percent sure it’s not a joke) treatise against pedestrians, filled with not-too-subtle threats and dehumanizing stereotypes.

In a nutshell, reporter Matt Meltzer says if pedestrians don’t get out of the way of drivers in Miami, they deserve what they get (which is, I guess, getting killed):

If you came to Miami with the idea that people were going to yield to you in crosswalks, guess again.

Pedestrians in America seem to have a sort of sense of entitlement on the road. Like for some reason because they’re on foot, cars have to stop for them. Various pedestrian-friendly traffic laws are probably to blame for this, but whatever the cause it’s a pervasive attitude among walkers in this country. But like most things, in Miami we don’t do it like the rest of the country.

Turning right on a red? As long as there’s no cars go for it. Doesn’t matter if a family of five is trying to cross. If they live in Miami, they know to stop. Crosswalk without a stop sign? That’s what we in Miami call a colossal waste of street paint. Nobody’s slowing down, and cars are a lot bigger and faster than you. Chance it if you like, because you think you have some sort of “right of way.” But the consequences if you’re wrong aren’t worth trying us.

This thing continues that way for several more paragraphs, and is packaged as some sort of aggressive warning for tourists.

Now, if you dig around long enough on the Internet, you’re going to find some bizarre and hateful trash. And fortunately, the commenters on this site are quick to admonish the writer, restoring our faith in human decency.

The thing is, there’s plenty of evidence that this writer’s perspective too closely reflects the actual attitudes of many drivers. And it serves as yet another a sad commentary on the harrowing circumstances for pedestrians in Florida, which Transportation for America rated the most dangerous state for those who travel by foot.

Check out this video from Transit Miami and see if you don’t agree that Matt Meltzer does accurately reflect the attitudes of many Miami drivers with respect to the lowly status of pedestrians.

  • lol, a lot of those drivers would have their cars beat upon in other cities. The pedestrians are so polite.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. The hard evidence that this guy is serious is reflected in his postings in a separate forum on the same website. http://forums.miamibeach411.com/general-discussion/8941-miami-beach-crosswalks-unsafe-pedestrians-why.html

  • Gus Moore

    Hi Angie,

    I don’t think your friends in Miami get Matt’s sense of humor, or the fact that he is trying to educate naive pedestrians about Miami’s rules of the road with satire. As the video shows, Miami drivers could care less about people crossing the street, and visitors from law abiding cities should be made aware.

    As Jessie mentions, in any other city, that type of aggressive driving is not acceptable. Matt was trying to point this out, but obviously people got sidetracked by his writing style.

    I promise our aim was not to be dehumanizing, hateful, or threatening toward pedestrians, and apologize if we offended anyone. 

    Gus Moore
    Miami Beach 411

  • David Brookes

    Hi Gus
    Here is what I don’t get: You are trying to pass off Meltzer’s article as humor and satire. Here in Miami we all know this is not the case. If you look at any of his forum postings (and they are numerous) his basic line is 1. He hates Marc Sarnoff because he made the Grove more pedestrian friendly. 2. Pedestrians shouldn’t assert their right of way in a crosswalk because it slows down the drivers and makes them angry. Pedestrians should just wait for a gap in the traffic.
    Need I point out how the Grove is thriving because people actually want to go and hang out there. As for point 2. We all know this is so utterly preposterous. We all know that in rush hour a pedestrian could wait at a cross walk for an hour without any safe gap appearing. I am disgusted by his article and more-so that you prefer to defend this hate-filled rhetoric instead of removing the article and admonishing him appropriately. Yes, I know, free speech, blah blah. Fair enough. I will exercise my right to free speech by telling anyone who will listen to ignore Miami Beach 411, and avoid planning a Miami vacation at all costs. And if they ask why, I will refer them to Meltzer’s article. I hope your  organization sinks into the oblivion it deserves.

  • Matthew Meltzer

    Angie, lighten up girl. While this is supposed to be an informative piece to those new to Miami, it’s not a full- on condoning of vehicular homicide. My point is as a pedestrian or cyclist, you should not feel an entitlement to the road. You have to share it with larger, heavier vehicles. So don’t cop an attitude. And, believe it or not, I’ve had more than a few Miami drivers tell me this piece is dead ok. So chill, bro. Y’all up in DC take things so serious.

  • Matthew Meltzer

    Dude, the grove is DYING. And Sarnoff killed it by moving closing time from 5 to 3. Has nothing to do with walk ability. Sarnoff pretty much Hayes everything that makes Miami miami

  • Gus Moore

    David,

    I am not trying to pass Matt’s article offer solely as humor. If you read my earlier comment here, I said Matt was trying to educate naive pedestrians about Miami’s rules of the road with satire. You obviously don’t have a sense of humor, or are the type of person who can see a different point of view. 

    Your comment is so angry and mean, I truly wonder if you have a lot of road rage in your life? I hope I am wrong about you and you’re not as aggressive behind the wheel as you are coming across.

    Respectfully,

    Gus Moore
    Miami Beach 411

  • “Lighten up Angie”? Are you out of your mind? Your article, Matt, is the most offensive, rude and ignorant piece on disrespecting fellow human beings that I have read in a long time. It is not funny. It is not groundbreaking. It is not educational. Shame on you, Matt Meltzer, for writing it and thinking the way you do. Please move away to some faraway place where you will never, ever have to get out of your car and I will never, ever have to face you as a pedestrian. Shame on you, Gus Moore and Miami Beach 411 for publishing a terrible piece that does not good to your community or those coming to visit.

  • Anonymous

    Gus, we all have senses of humor. The only thing is, there was absolutely nothing funny about Meltzer’s article. My friends sister was killed in a crosswalk from a hit and run driver here. These senseless commentaries aren’t funny at all. 

  • OK, I was ready to just let it go and give you the benefit of the doubt, @61ae0ec7e336448753cd4755b2e31dbc:disqus and assume your satire was just a tad too subtle for me. But your comment blew me away with its complete cluelessness. First if all, when you offend someone, never tell them to “lighten up” and “don’t cop an attitude”. And definitely never address them as “girl” or “bro.” I know you’re trying to be hip and casual but really, it’s just gross. 

    But more importantly, I see that your piece is really not satire. It’s nice that you’re not “full-on” condoning vehicular homicide, but you’re issuing your cautionary tale to pedestrians, not the drivers who are breaking the law and putting people’s lives at risk. Pedestrians and cyclists ARE entitled to the road. It’s the law, and it’s the only conscionable way to design a city. And I’m glad to hear that drivers liked your piece. I can tell they’re the only people you care about.

    Oh, and Angie doesn’t live in DC. She lives in Cleveland. I live in DC. Maybe that’s why I take your offensiveness so seriously.

    -Tanya

  • Gus Moore

    Vernon, I am sorry to hear about your friends’s sister. Although I don’t feel Matt was trying to be threatening, or dehumanizing, I can see how the “Pedestrians Worth Ten Points” image that he included, could be offensive to people like your friend. I want to thank you and Angie for pointing this out. I removed the image.

    Sincerely,

    Gus Moore
    Miami Beach 411

  • Hey, granted I probably would not have used such strong language if I had realized it was satire. Here’s the thing about satire @61ae0ec7e336448753cd4755b2e31dbc:disqus, if you want people to recognize it, make sure it’s actually funny. Also, then don’t say, it’s satire, but I also sorta agree with it.

  • Anonymous

    Gus – “I can see how the “Pedestrians Worth Ten Points” image that he included, could be offensive to people like your friend.”

    It’s not just offensive to “people like my friend”. It’s offensive to anybody that respects human life. It’s actually scary you did not find it the least bit offensive and took this public lambasting to take it down from a site that purports to be ‘official’. In what capacity, I have no idea. 

  • We’re a miami shuttle company and always try to make sure we look out for pedestrians. But Miami traffic is bad. People need to slow down, get off the phone, and watch where they’re going!

  • Markus Wagner

    Mr. Moore,

    thank you for taking the picture down, which was not only offensive to people whose friends have died, but to anyone who comes close to being a compassionate human being.

    I get that you are trying to backtrack here somewhat (instead of calling or emailing back), but it appears to a number of people here obviously and elsewhere that you are not understanding the underlying issue. If you want to become involved in traffic safety then do so, there are plenty of options for you. Never mind that it would be good for your business as numerous people, whose emails you similarly seem to ignore, have pointed out.

    Putting up a blog post which is ignorant, flippant and not the slightest bit educational shows bad judgment in the first place, trying to defend it ignorance.

    If you would like to have a normal conversation and learn about ways to contribute to making Miami safer (which you should have an interest in), please let me know. You have my number and email address.

  • Gus Moore

    Mr. Wagner,

    In my opinion, Matt’s article is educational. It raised a discussion between us. It also informed pedestrians , who might think the rules of the road are the same in Miami as they are in other, more law abiding places. 

    I not backtracking, but I am a compassionate human being, and try to stay open minded and willing to adjust my view and edit our site, when I see fit. 

    Sorry, but I am not able to answer your email. I will remain open and reply to any comments that are respectful and open to having a civil discussion, which I fee the majority have not been. 

    It seems like we all agree, Miami is filled with aggressive drivers. 
    Please don’t shoot the messenger! Gus MooreMiami Beach 411

  • Markus Wagner

    Mr. Moore,

    thanks for acknowledging the message. I can’t see how my message to you here or over email was not civil. I thus don’t understand the inability to write back.

    But be that as it may, it’s OK to have differences – you seem to think of Matt’s article as a good one, other people – myself included – don’t.

    Many of the people here and elsewhere care deeply about traffic issues and know something about it. What galls the majority of the readers is the tone (which is supposed to be taken as irony – and is visible in the comments left by Mr. Meltzer here as well) as well as the message. Neither one is civil and the backlash that you are experiencing may be because of the tone and substance of the initial piece.

    Trust me that, having been hit as a bike commuter, I did get the message. What’s unnecessary are cavalier attitudes when your personal safety or even life is at stake.

    Markus

  • Pissed off at MiamiBeach411

    Mr. Moore, you claim that Matt Meltzer’s article “informed pedestrians”. Here is a passage of it: “So if you’re coming here and trying to cross the street, understand
    we’re not stopping for you. If you want to be safe, make sure no cars
    are anywhere nearby, then cross as fast as humanly possible. And never,
    EVER, hold up traffic so you can cross.”
    These statements are not informative, they are insulting to human beings. Worse yet, they are against the law, Mr. Moore. If a pedestrian has a green light, you MUST stop for them. And, hey, I say if they have a red light, I’ll still stop for them. Why? because they are human beings like you, too. And I don’t want to murder anyone just for being a bit slow while crossing a street.
    The bottom line is, your sense of humor is not applicable when human lifes are at risk.
    Your satire backfired. Accept it. Retire the piece and place an apology on your website. You owe it to every single person in Miami Beach.

  • Marine

    Wow, I was going to travel to Miami Beach with my daughter and spend a week without a car, I guess that was a bad idea. I thought it was a very walkable place, at least that’s what I heard from friends. Thanks for the warning there, MiamiBeach411 travel, I’ll definitely look at other options that are more pedestrian-friendly now.

  • David Brookes

    Mr. Moore. You said “Your comment is so angry and mean, I truly wonder if you have a lot of road rage in your life? I hope I am wrong about you and you’re not as aggressive behind the wheel as you are coming across.”
    This is my response to you: Stop diverting attention from the issue. I am angry and I have a right to be. Pedestrians have rights. We have the right to cross the road without being in fear of our lives. On May 21, I watched Mario Montero, a worker at the Coral Gables hospital die in front of me after he got mowed down by a driver who blew straight through the stop light pedestrian crossing on S.W. 37th Ave. I was lucky enough to dodge the same car because I saw him coming out of the corner of my eye and I ran like hell with my six-month old daughter in my arms. I cycle to work 10 miles each way, Monday to Friday. I ride every day never 100% certain if I will make it home to see my daughter again. Yes, I am angry, and I will not be silent. Meltzer’s article is a flippant solipsist insult to all those who have needlessly paid with their lives all because somebody driving in a car was in too much of a hurry and couldn’t bother to pay attention to the road and to the laws that are put in place to protect those who are more vulnerable (namely cyclists and pedestrians). On the contrary, the mean ones here are you and Meltzer. He is mean for writing that article and you’re mean for enabling and defending him.

  • Gus Moore

    Markus,

    I agree that Matt’s cavalier attitude can, at times, get in the way of his message. In particular, I would have preferred that he show, Angie, more respect in his comment to her, but I tend to look the other way when he behaves like that, because overall, I find his views about local topics insightful and funny, and appreciate the confidence he shows in his writing. In the same vein, I also like Carl Hiaasen, Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks, South Park, Daniel Tosh, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, so you can see which side of the fence my sense of humor and liberal views lie.

    I really do appreciate you sharing your opinion with me, though. In the future, I will think of you when our team is discussing story ideas, and will take your views into consideration, before publishing.

    Like yourself, Miami Beach 411 is also concerned with bike commuter safety. We are researching an article about the dangers of biking on Bayshore Drive and Old Cutler Road that I hope you will find informative. 

    If I can be of any assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me again. If you prefer to speak by email, I promise to return your message. My email address is: 
    gus@miamibeach411.com. You can also talk to me by calling the number on our website. 

    Best regards,

    Gus 

  • Amazing how Matt’s sense of humor inspires righteous indignation from douche bags…

  • Anonymous

    Grant – Matt’s “sense of humor” is perverted. 

  • Nikki Vaughan

    Vernon6 – you have no sense of humor.

    Personally, I think Matt is hilarious; like Gus, I love Sam Kinnison, Bill Hicks, Daniel Tosh, and George Carlin. People need to not get caught up in whether they like the sense of humor or not, and pay attention to the message. Matt is not saying that no one can walk anywhere in Miami; he’s saying that pedestrians and cyclists need to be aware of the traffic around them. It is a simple reality that people don’t pay 100% attention when they drive. People text, talk, and fiddle with things. And the cars are moving a hell of a lot faster than the people walking. So the message is: Be Careful With Traffic. I understand that there are laws in place to protect people not in cars. But the fact is that people don’t pay attention, or there are areas where pedestiran security is more lax. In different places, driving norms differ. Matt’s article makes it abundantly clear that drivers are aggressive in Miami. It is better for him to say it in a way that makes it clear than to “be nice” about it and people not get the massage. He’s intimidating out-of-town pedestrians into being safe. This is something I have no problem with.

  • Anonymous

    I present you Meltzer’s “In Defense of Miami Drivers” from 2011. Is this satire too????? http://www.miamibeach411.com/news/in-defense

  • Jacob Lynn

    Let me guess — the people that find this funny don’t do a lot of walking.

  • This is also happen in the other country. I think the government need further action on this and build over pass just for the people. Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers!

  • Amazing post… Check it out more here http://www.triphobo.com/miami-united-states

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