Austin offers incentives to get people to Bike to Work today

Bicyclist riding in the bike lane. (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin is encouraging people to ditch their cars and take their bicycle to work this Friday as part Bike to Work Day.

If pedaling to work seems like a daunting task, Bike Austin is teaming with local businesses to offer you a plethora of incentives to bike to work. Bike Austin will have more than 40 B2WD fueling stations throughout the city from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. where riders can get free coffee, snacks, merchandise and other swag.

District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhard and Chief of Police Brian Manley will also help kick off festivities at City Hall at 8 a.m. They’ll be giving away breakfast tacos and coffee.

“In addition to the lack of education by some bicycle riders and people who drive cars is this idea that we need to get someplace quickly,” said transportation safety advocate Scott Johnson. “Stop signs even traffic lights are an inconvenience to us and we are not planning our day well enough. We are not leaving the house or apartment soon enough to get there. It’s part of our fault and it’s part of this feeling that we need to go somewhere quickly.”

Last year, Austin police launched a new initiative called “Safe Passing.” The operation uses two bicycles that are outfitted with a tool that measures the distance between a vehicle and a bicyclist. The bikes also have a mounted readout display that shows the measured distance so officers who are conducting the sting can immediately determine if a violation is occurring.

In Austin, drivers who are passing a cyclist must leave at least 3 feet between their vehicles and the cyclist. For large/commercial vehicles, 6 feet is the legal minimum.

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