AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin might be a little bit nosier the next couple of days as motorcyclists rev up their engines for the annual ROT Rally.
Police will be out in force this weekend with tens of thousands of motorcyclists on area roads. The 21st annual Republic of Texas Rally began, but ramps up Friday with the parade that runs down Congress Ave.
According to the ROT Rally, the city shuts down about 50 blocks of downtown because big crowds come to Congress Ave. for the annual parade. The group of bikers leave the Travis County Expo Center, where the rally takes place, around 7 p.m. and arrive on Congress Ave. at 7:45 p.m. This year the group will travel from 11th to the river and back up again so the public can view the bikes from either side.
Austin Police typically warn drivers to be extra careful with extra traffic on the road. In years past police have seen an increase in accidents and DWI arrests. In 2012, five bikers died on area roads. This year Austin police are warning visitors about the rock throwings.
“It’s important to be very aware of your surroundings, do not be distracted,” said Austin Police Chief Art Acevado. “Pay attention to what’s going on around you and avoid the fast lane if possible. The majority of these incidents have targeted vehicles in the fast lane.”
Beginning at 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday at 5 a.m. Austin Police will conduct a no refusal weekend. That means if they suspect someone has been drinking they can obtain a warrant to draw their blood.
Police are also warning bikers of theft during the event. Criminals will be on the prowl for high-end unattended motorcycles. Even if you have your keys on you, thieves often lift unsecured motorcycles onto trucks or vans. The bikes are then sold to online buyers or parts are removed for a quick sell.