Cyclist: Area where drunk driver hit bicyclists is dangerous

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Police say a man driving under the influence of alcohol hit two bicyclists on South First Street early Sunday morning, injuring both of them.

Jake Rupp, 23, crashed into the cyclists at about 6:30 a.m. on South First Street near the Texas School for the Deaf, according to the arrest warrant.

The victims were transported to University Medical Center Brackenridge. The attorney representing the victims tells us one of his clients has a broken back and the other a broken foot. Both are competitive cyclists and were headed out for a long ride yesterday morning when the crash happened.

Jake Rupp
Jake Rupp

Rupp has been charged with intoxication assault, a third-degree felony. Rupp told police he did not see the cyclists and they did not have lights on their bikes, police documents state.

It’s a busy area for cars and bicyclists on South 1st Street near Barton Springs Road, the same spot where the two riders were hit by Rupp.

“Brief moments where people make a decision that they’re going to text or they’re going to drive while they’re drunk, peoples’ lives are affected.”

Even without those distractions, Garret Nick, with the organization, Please BE KIND to Cyclists, says this is a scary stretch of road for bikers. There is no bike lane, which causes some cyclists to use the sidewalks. Parts of the sidewalks are narrow and branches stick out into the path.

Another problem, Garret says, is cars going a faster than the posted 35 mile per hour speed limit as they come down the hill on 1st street.

“Even if where I want to get to is on S. 1st St., I go out of my way to stay away from it, because I don’t think it’s safe at all,” said Garret.

Deadly year

Austin has already seen a high number of fatal roadway accidents, according to Austin Police Department statistics.

From Jan. 1 through mid July of 2015, there have been 58 traffic fatalities, including 22 pedestrian deaths in Austin. That means Austin has already nearly equaled the total number of traffic fatalities for all of 2014, when their were 63 deaths, city data shows.

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