Neighbors want safety improvements after cyclist’s death

Courtesy: Wilkinson family

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin has one of the most active cycling communities in the country, but many riders don’t feel safe. Local groups like Please Be Kind to Cyclists work to increase awareness and education among motorists and cyclists.

Their latest push for change comes after a cyclist died this week following a crash at Lost Creek Boulevard and Whitemarsh Valley Walk in western Travis County.

“(My son) came running in and said, ‘Mom, mom, there’s an emergency,'” said neighbor Paige Taylor. “When I came out I saw the cyclist on the ground, and she was holding his head. Then my first thought was to try and get some towels and help because there was so much blood.”

Taylor says the woman holding the man’s head was a pediatric physician. The cyclist, 53-year-old Thomas Wilkinson, died one week after the crash.

A spokeswoman with the Department of Public Safety says a truck driver traveling on Lost Creek failed to yield at the right of way, causing Wilkinson to crash into the truck.

Longtime neighbors say problems at this intersection are only growing worse and that now is the time for safety improvements.

“A lot of neighbors have suggested a three-way stop, or speed bumps,” said Jay Tinney, a longtime resident. “I’m in favor of either one that slows down traffic in the neighborhood.”

“Here we lost a life, preventable,” said Alvaro Bastidas, executive director and co-founder of Please Be Kind to Cyclists. Bastidas says this crash was personal for him, because he was hit in the same way at a different intersection. “I spent four years in therapy recovering my short-term memory, learning how to walk again, speak again, button my shirt.”

He wants to see consequences for drivers involved in these crashes, because he says one life is too many. At this time, the driver has not been charged with anything. DPS says the incident is still under investigation.

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