AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin cyclist wants answers and change after being sideswiped by a bus while riding his bike last month.
Video Nick Bruskewitz got from CapMetro and posted on Twitter shows him riding in the bike lane at 2:05 p.m. July 15 near Barton Springs Road and South Lamar Boulevard when a bus knocked him over. It appears the bicyclist was going westbound on Barton Springs Road.
“That back wheel came mighty close to ending things,” Bruskewitz wrote on Twitter, adding that he wanted to talk with CapMetro about the issue.
CapMetro tweeted that it is conducting an internal investigation.
“I want this out there, I want more conversation around safety for cyclists, especially as it pertains to the city buses,” Bruskewitz said.
Stephen Scholz is a tour guide at Barton Springs Bike Rental and Tours and bikes about 30 hours a week. He feels safe cycling around the city but not on Barton Springs Road. He says he takes the trails or rides in the car lanes.
“I’ve definitely seen a fair share of accidents on this road because the bike lanes are so tight against the cars,” said Scholz. “There is no room for error on Barton Springs and it’s a pretty high traffic area.”
Scholz says Barton Springs Road is dangerous because there is not much space between the bike lane and the car lane. Where Bruskewitz was clipped, there’s a gutter at the corner, which makes the bike lane 3.5-feet wide. Along the rest of the street, there is another foot worth of space.
The entire two lanes with a bike lane span 24.5 feet with 10 feet for a bus to fit into a lane.
Scholz would rather the area be like downtown where there are structures and plenty of space between the bike lane and the cars.
A city spokesperson tells KXAN cyclists are allowed to use car lanes if they want. In Austin, drivers who are passing a cyclist must leave at least 3 feet between themselves and the cyclist. That distance increases to 6 feet for large or commercial vehicles, like buses. The Austin Police Department has bicycles outfitted with a tool to measure the distance between a rider and vehicle, which allows officers to determine if a violation is occurring and pull over those vehicles.
The city is making road improvements to South Lamar Boulevard. New traffic signals, railroad crossings and modifying turn lanes at some intersections, including Barton Springs Road, Oltorf and Manchaca Road.