Growing concern about harassment along popular bike lane

Great Northern Blvd. (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)
Great Northern Blvd. (KXAN Photo/Erin Cargile)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Walkers, runners and cyclists in North Austin say they are dealing with a scary situation that has been escalating for months.

People in the Allandale neighborhood have been calling police about the same man screaming obscenities and spitting at people going by on Great Northern Boulevard, and say it recently turned physical.

“He was just kind of being vulgar with people and yelling at people, runners and cyclists,” said neighbor Kevin McRee.

McRee frequents the popular bike path between RM 2222 and West Anderson Lane, and has called police a couple of times after confrontations with the man. McRee started seeing him along the road in November giving cyclists the finger, and it’s been getting worse ever since.

“He started jumping out at me and trying to fight me, and spitting at people,” said McRee.  “He always says [things] like ‘locals only’ and to get out of his neighborhood.”

McRee heard the man got more aggressive recently, and pushed a cyclist off their bike. Kelly Kerby, another cyclist who rides along Great Northern Boulevard four to five times a week, is surprised he’s never seen him. Kerby decided to come scope out the area Monday night after seeing a picture of the man floating around on a neighborhood email, and a local cycling website.

“I think people will be more prepared to get their phones out now ready for the guy,” said Kerby. “He may end up doing it to the wrong group of guys and something escalates from there.”

The man has been telling people he lives along Great Northern Boulevard. We reached out to Austin police about the situation, but have not heard back.