Austin addresses cyclist safety issues

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If you are living in Austin right now and especially if you are an Austin cyclist you’ve undoubtedly noticed the recent rash of car vs. cyclist fatalities. Last night Austin police spoke to the cyclist community about safety on the city’s roads.

Although the recent news makes it seem cyclists are getting killed at a rapid pace around Austin, police say the city’s number of car vs. bike accidents is low considering the number of cars and bikes on the road. Still, the number is going up and will inevitably continue to rise as Austin grows and more people take to the road by both car and bike. There were 373 car and bike accidents in 2011.  In the recent cases, some have been the fault of the driver and in other collisions the cyclist has been to blame. But it really doesn’t matter who is to blame. We all share the responsibility of safety on the road.  Click here to read the KEYE TV story on how police are working to address safety issues with local cyclists.

The really cool thing that came out of this meeting is new technology that can be used to study how close cars are actually coming to cyclists on the road. The law states that a car cannot pass a cyclists without giving them at least a three foot buffer. I know I can’t visually tell you in a matter of seconds if an object is three feet from another object. You better believe I can tell you if that buffer zone is violated when I’m vulnerable on my bike on the road. Check out this description of the technology and the study planned for Austin. Hopefully this study and initiatives by Austin police can at least generate some awareness on the roads for both drivers and cyclists. We all have the same goal, folks. Get home safe.

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2 thoughts on “Austin addresses cyclist safety issues

  1. Billy_Trip

    Great read, Megan.

    Having so many friends who ride their bikes around town keeps me on edge all the time (I’m definitely looking in your direction on that note). It’s good to see that the city is addressing the matter quickly and (hopefully) in a very effective manner.

    I’m about to start commuting more by bike, and I’m definitely studying all the rules, signals and looking up all safe roads and paths around town just to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible.

  2. I knew about the three-feet rule and am always very careful, but I see quite a few drivers who are not. I think Austin can do a better job of creating better bike lanes/routes and raising awareness. I’m glad to see that, at least, APD is holding meetings like with cyclists and looking more closely at the issues.

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