Gear up Austin: Bike to Work Day on Friday

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austinites will trade their four wheels for two on Friday for Bike to Work Day.

Bike to Austin puts on the event in an effort to make biking a more permanent form transportation for commuters going to and from work. Organizers set up fueling stations across the city where people can meet up with other riders and grab a meal.

Bike to Work Day is part of a larger effort to help ease traffic and make the city more bike friendly.  A 10 year project, the Austin 2009 Bicycle Plan, is a driving force behind the push to get more people riding.

Overall, city officials are hoping to create a bicycle system that has nearly 750 miles of bicycle lanes, nine miles of bicycle boulevards and more than 300 miles of multi-use paths. These paths would be used as bike lanes, curb lanes and shared lanes. Some have already popped up around the city.

Part of that plan is to also educate more people about the rules of the rode when cycling.

Earlier in May, University of Texas held it’s Bike to UT Day, but dozens of tickets were handed out. Authorities said they issued 47 tickets near Speedway and San Jacinto Street.  Just three hours into the event, most of the tickets were written for cyclists running stop signs, according to police. One cyclist received a ticket for going the wrong way on a one-way street.

In February, APD began focusing on pedestrian, bike and driver safety near campus. The department said it chose a day to crackdown on violations, which happened to fall on Bike to UT Day.  In the past three months Austin police officers have written 128 tickets and given 175 warnings to cyclists

AUSTIN BIKE LAWS 

  • Have to obey traffic signals, signs and other
  • If riding in a bike lane a cyclist cannot travel in the opposite direction of traffic
  • Sidewalks, except a few, are okay to bike one
  • Bicyclist cannot weave in and out of traffic
  • More laws

In 2010 the Austin Cycling Association worked with the Austin Municipal Court to create a defensive cycling course. This allows cyclists to defer a traffic ticket if they are cited while riding their bike, just like drivers.

Defensive Cycling Courses

  • Costs $35
  • Takes three hours (Both classroom and online courses)
  • If requirements are met, traffic ticket is dismissed
  • Fine is waived
  • Court fee is not waived

Cycling groups agree there’s a need for more education as more people choose to ride their bikes.

 

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