AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dozens of cyclists riding their bikes near the University of Texas campus Thursday found themselves with tickets.
The Austin Police Department issued 47 tickets near Speedway and San Jacinto Street, heading toward UT’s campus. Austin police says it had more officers out patrolling than normal, and there were likely more cyclists out than normal, too.
That’s because Thursday was “Bike to UT Day” and Austin police officers happened to be cracking down on cyclists not obeying street laws.
The event happens once a year and is aimed at encouraging cycling by giving out food and prizes.
In less than three hours Thursday morning seven APD officers issued 46 tickets to cyclists for running stop signs, and one ticket to a cyclist for going the wrong way on a one way street.
“It sounds like, ‘Oh, there’s a lot more people out so what an easy way to get more tickets out,’” UT student Deena Lucardi said.
APD started an initiative in February to crack down on pedestrian, bicycling and driving safety near campus. The officer in charge of the initiative says they did not plan for the crackdown on cyclists to fall on “Bike to UT Day.” He says this was on their calendar since January.
Some students say it’s just another lesson learned.
“[It] makes sure people are aware they should pay attention more often and not put it on the back burner,” Priyanka Vaidya said.
Since APD started the special bike initiative in February, they’ve written 175 warnings and 128 tickets.