Early Sunday morning at 6:30 am, two cyclists were heading out for a long bike ride when they were struck on South First street by a man who the police say was operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Both men were injured in the crash and were transported to University Medical Center Brackenridge to have their injuries treated. The man operating the vehicle, Jake Rupp, says he did not see the cyclists, that they did not have lights on their bikes. He was charged with intoxication assault, a third degree felony.
Drunk Driving a Particular Risk for Cyclists
It’s no secret that Austin has a drunk driving problem. But it poses a particular threat to cyclists, especially in areas without bike lanes. When a drunk driver hits a car, the passengers are initially protected by the shielding of the car and possibly air bags. There is no such protection for cyclists when confronted with the same situation.
South First St. Dangerous for Cyclists
The South First street district is a bustling, dense, and vibrant community with many restaurants and shops that are destinations for Austinites throughout the city. While South Congress and Guadalupe have bike lanes and some of the most biked roads in Austin, South First is also a densely populated corridor. Due to minimal parking in the area, biking is often the transportation option of choice when accessing the area, even though the street does not have a bike lane. But the street is narrow and the shoulders narrower and often filled with debris. When taking the lane due to insufficient and obstructed shoulder space, cyclists often experience aggression from drivers in this area, leading many cyclists to take longer, more roundabout travel paths to avoid the street altogether. These cyclists are forced off the roads that their taxes help pay for.
Considered one of the most bike-friendly cities in Texas, Austin cyclists have it better than most. But combined with a city known for abnormal amounts of drunk-driving, cycling for recreation or transportation can be deadly. Last year alone APD made 6,033 DWI arrests, 28 of which involved a fatality. By all accounts, the two cyclists involved in Sunday’s accident were lucky. It is the responsibility of all Austinites to help prevent drunk driving. We’ve put together a list of 7 Ways to Get Home Without Drunk Driving.
If you have been the victim of a DWI bike or car accident contact an Austin personal injury lawyer; Jason McMinn and Justin McMinn will be happy to evaluate your case quickly and without cost. Call us at 512-474-0222, use the live chat on our website, fill out the form on this page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org