Father of cyclist killed wants bicycle safety plan in Georgetown

A memorial sits on Patriot Way in Georgetown, where 19-year-old Tommy Ketterhagen was killed on his bicycle (KXAN Photo/Lauren Kravets).
A memorial sits on Patriot Way in Georgetown, where 19-year-old Tommy Ketterhagen was killed on his bicycle (KXAN Photo/Lauren Kravets).

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Tom Ketterhagen visits his son’s memorial on Patriot Way several times a week. “Of course there’s a heaviness, sadness about it but this is where Tommy spent his last seconds.”

Tommy Ketterhagen was riding his bicycle the evening of Jan. 20, when Aaron Davison crashed into him. A witness said Davison drove into the wrong lane and hit Tommy. Davison took off, but turned himself in four days later.

Tommy’s memorial is a reminder of a harsh reality: bicyclists face deadly risks. Ketterhagen is taking that message to Georgetown City Council, requesting a study for a bike safety plan. “[Focusing on] where cyclists are today and what roads they take” explains Ketterhagen. “With that, a plan for future roads, will this road be used by cyclists?”

The road where Tommy was hit, Patriot Way, does have wide shoulders, but Ketterhagen says he’d like to see marked lanes and signs. Something similar to the three existing bike lanes in Georgetown. But with all the growth, Ketterhagen says the city needs more.

“I would hope that the pendulum can swing back toward the city of Georgetown as a small town city that takes care of the vulnerable, kids on bikes, pedestrians, joggers,” says Ketterhagen. “At this point it’s about deterrent, preventing it from happening again, it’s a tragedy no one should have to live through.”

Ketterhagen and four other people will be speaking before Georgetown City Council Tuesday night, asking for a bicycle safety plan. Supporters will be bicycling from Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop in Austin, to the city council meeting. The ride starts at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

As of now, there is no designated money for such a plan. A city spokesperson says the 2018 budget is still a work in progress that won’t be finalized until later in the summer.

The city says the Mays Street Extension Project will have bike lanes and sidewalks. The 1.1 mile road connects Westinghouse Road to Terra Vista Parkway, providing access from the south side of Georgetown to the Round Rock Premium Outlets, Bass Pro and other retail on the northern edge of Round Rock.

So far this year there have been two crashes involving bicycles and both were fatal. According to Georgetown police, in the second case, the victim was pushing a bike across the street when that person was hit by a car. In 2016, there were five crashes involving bicycles, and no fatalities. In 2015 and 2014, nine crashes each, and eight crashes involving bicycles in 2013.

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