AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Austin Police Department on Tuesday launched the first phase of its Safe Bike Initiative in an East Austin community.
Phase one includes educating motorists in the Austin community about the Vulnerable Road Users Ordinance. This ordinance was created to protect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, runners, construction workers and cyclists.
Carl Bradtmiller of East Side Pedal Pushers endorsed the initiative.
"It takes a lot of experience to be a safe rider," he said. "I think that's what a lot of people lack. They see people ride the way who maybe ride all the time - and they're less experienced riders. You can only account for what you're going to do on a bike,
"You can never say for sure what a car's going to do. So you have to ride like cars don't see you at all, like you're invisible."
Bradtmiller said both cyclists and motorists need to be aware of -- and respectful of -- one another
"A car passes you and there's no incident," he said. But the one time that it doesn't go well - that you don't anticipate something - that's when it ends badly, because the car is ultimately a lot bigger.
"The outcome of a car and a bike collision is never in doubt - it's always going to end worse for the cyclist."
According to Austin police statistics, three bicyclists were killed in 2012 and 1 was killed in 2011. Bicyclists represented 4 percent of all Austin transportation fatalities in 2012.
Bradtmiller encourages cyclists to clearly communicate their intentions when sharing the road with cars and trucks
"Signaling - communicating what you're about to do to cars is pretty much the safest thing you can do," he said. "If a car has a good idea what you're going to do, they can act accordingly. And it goes both ways. When cars use turn signals, it's great. When cars don't use turn signals, it can be a really dangerous thing."
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