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Letter to the Mayor

We all agree on at least these three truths:

1) Austin does not have the infrastructure to support the current needs of all of the various travelers using our limited methods of transportation, such as roadways, highways, tollways, sidewalks (where they exist), bike lanes (where they exist) and surface streets.

2) Austin continues to grow despite already outgrowing our ability to move comfortably and safely around the city.

3) Planned changes to increase mobility are not immediate but the harms caused to our population without these changes are severe, and with infrastructure changes mostly preventable.

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Another tragedy, another call for better streets

June 7, 2016, Alexei Baureis, a 14-year-old was hit and killed on his bicycle at the intersection of Spicewood Springs and Rustic Rock Drive. A large truck hit this child. After noting that the driver was not intoxicated and cooperative KXAN reports that police warn “with summer here, people on bikes should be certain to make sure they have their lights and reflectors in place, there is no mention that lights or reflectors were a factor. There is no warning to motorists to make sure their vehicles are operational, that they are not driving distracted or without lights.

A 14-year-old is dead. Looking at the intersection (see interactive street view below) where he died it is clear, there is no infrastructure for people on bikes. Had the motorist been looking and driving with lights on and seeing what there is to be seen and observing the vulnerable road user ordinance, would this young person still be with us? Had the City provided adequate street lighting and a bicycle lane would this young person still be with us?

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Meeting with the Chief of Police

In a time when traffic injuries and deaths are at an all time high and disproportionately affecting vulnerable road users, Monday, Chief Acevedo and Bike Austin are meeting at Mellow Johnny’s (May 23, 2016, 6pm). This meeting is to discuss the donation by Bike Austin to the APD of 2 C3FT devices which are designed to help enforce the 3-ft passing law for vulnerable road users.

I don’t want a meeting with the Chief. I want the Chief to meet with his officers and Licensed Cycling Instructors and educate them on the laws specific to people riding bikes and people who are most vulnerable using our very delicate and dangerous system of transportation. And really, giving them two new pieces of technology is not getting the police to buy into educating themselves about the 3-foot and 6-foot rule. I ask that the Police Department, from the rank-and-file to the Chief, commit 10 minutes or even 5 minutes to a regularly scheduled training to discuss the laws pertaining to vulnerable road users.

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Asking for Traffic Safety – Shefman Law on KUT

“There’s nobody advocating for that infrastructure to be created,” says Lenore Shefman, a personal injury lawyer who represents pedestrians and cyclists who have been hit by cars. The voice is less because quite frankly, people have less time to knock on doors at the legislature or city council.”

Shefman says people sometimes for get that.

“You do the best with what you have and if you need to be to work at five o’clock and you have to get your child to the babysitter and there is not crosswalk for two miles then you wait for a break in an you run for it,” Shefman says. “And that unfortunately is something that people who don’t have to face that dilemma just really can’t compute.”

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Is Death Funny? Can Death Be Funny? – Part Two

Read Part One

What happens if someone dies intestate in Texas?

Intestate simply means, without a will. When a person dies without a will property is distributed according to the Texas Estates Code rules, and those rules are complicated.

Did the person die married? Are there children? Did s/he own community property? Was s/he in the process of separation or divorce? Are the deceased’s parents still alive? Who are all the living heirs who may be entitled to take from the deceased?

Decedent – a dead person
Married – Texas acknowledges common law marriage but you should seek counsel on whether the marriage at issue qualifies.
Children – Adopted and by birth.
Heir – a person who receives an interest in an ancestors assets through intestate (without a will) succession.
Kin – related by blood or (big lawyer word of the day) consanguinity (of the same bloodline.)

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