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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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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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Back-to-School Bike Safety Tips

Summer is winding down, and for many students this means that classes are about to start back up in full swing (if they haven’t already!). If you will be riding your bike to class, here are some important tips to remember to help keep you and those around you safe as you start back to school.

1. Inspect your bike. This is always a good tip, but it’s especially important if you haven’t been riding as much during the summer. Be sure to check the brakes, tires, wheel alignment, seat, handlebars, axle nuts and bearings, and your bike chain. Adjust, replace, or tighten things as necessary. If you aren’t sure how to do this, stop by Ozone or any of the other local bike shops and ask them help you.

2. Stay aware of traffic and traffic pattern changes. If you’ve been riding your bike over the summer, you may have gotten used to a different traffic pattern. Remember that traffic might be busier than normal at certain locations or times of day now that school is back in session.

3. Remember your lights. Days will be getting shorter now, and a class that starts in daylight might not end until after dark. Or maybe you’ll need to have a late-night study session. No matter why you end up out after dark, remember to make sure that your bike is equipped with lights. Also remember to bring extra batteries, brightly colored clothing, and reflective gear for those late night or early morning rides.

4. Always carry your books and other items in a bicycle carrier or backpack. Keep your hands free at all times! Remember, the hands-free ordinance applies to bicyclists too!

5. Don’t let your bike get stolen! While you’re in class, be sure to lock your bike while it’s parked. Buy a good quality lock, and lock your bike through both the frame and the wheel. While any lock can be broken with the right tools, a thief is less likely to go to more extreme efforts to break a lock in a crowded area. You can register your bike through BikeUT and the APD which can help get your bike returned if it is stolen. Also, be sure not to leave your bike parked on campus overnight.

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