Police Launch New Initiative To Protect Cyclists

[B' Spokes: Filed under news you will not see in Maryland.]
By Sarah Vasquez, Austinist

May is National Bike Month, and with more than 8,000 Austinites commuting to work by bike, the Austin Police Department is partnering with the Public Works Department Bicycle Program and local nonprofit Please BE KIND to Cyclists to start the first phase of a bike safety initiative May 8.

According to KUT, cops dressed in plain clothes will ride on bicycles with chase vehicles nearby to monitor safe spaces between motor vehicles and bicycles on the street. The Vulnerable Road Users Ordinance requires motor vehicles to allow three feet of space when passing a bicyclist and other vulnerable road users. Large trucks and buses are required to provide at least six feet of space.

However, if a motorist has to cross over the double yellow lines to give the allotted space, APD has included guidelines not to cite them—just be safe about it.
These new safety provisions come after a record year for traffic fatalities. And Republic of Austin writes that the city has already reached 28 traffic-related fatalities this year. Cyclist Brian Lindquist has undergone more than 10 brain surgeries after he was hit by intoxicated driver Truett Jones last October.

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