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APD tracks cyclist vs. vehicle crashes

KXAN Austin: APD tracks cyclist vs. vehicle crashes

Drivers at fault more often in crashes with bikes

Monday, 24 Sep 2012

Shannon Wolfson

AUSTIN (KXAN) - In the wake of a deadly crash that killed an Austin man riding his bicycle, the Austin Police Department said statistics show most bicycle versus vehicle crashes are the fault of the driver, not the cyclist.

So far in 2012, 21 percent of crashes between cyclists and vehicles have been the fault of the cyclist.

"Many people who probably think the other way around- but in fact, most bicyclists do obey the law," said Robin Stallings, Executive Director of Bike Texas . "They do try to watch for traffic and watch for signals but we've all seen the cyclists that behave badly."

In many areas of town, cyclists are not permitted to ride on sidewalks and are forced to share the road with vehicles.

"We want everybody to be safe," said APD Officer Veneza Bremner. "A lot of the things that we do see are bicyclists that are running red lights, running stop signs- I've seen some near misses, you know where its so close. The car is going to win- the bicyclist is not going to win."

Stallings said the city of Austin is working to keep cyclists and drivers safe with "complete streets" projects where bike lanes are completely separated from the road where vehicles travel.

"We're encouraged that the city will have many more and eventually every road that would have faster traffic should eventually have these," said Stallings.

The Austin City Council also passed the Safe Passing Ordinance requiring drivers to allow three feet of space between their vehicle and a cyclist. Bike Texas is working to get that passed as a statewide law in the next legislative session.

50 bicyclists are killed every year in Texas.