I’m sitting outside a 7-11 late on a Wednesday, just down the street from the huge football stadium on the University of Texas campus. It’s where a cyclist, aged 39, with a helmet and lights on both the front and back of his bike, was hit, dragged under and trapped by a Capital Metro bus Monday night. It was there that he died. I just learned about this horrible tragedy tonight, and so I biked over here – a place I ride by regularly. I’m mad and sad, yet relieved it was not me. Because it could have been me. That doesn’t help Anthony, his friends, family and others who knew him.
Bus 1, Human on Bicycle 0
I biked home, did my yoga, and tried to calm down so I could finish this post. I’m not upset because it could have been me. I’m pissed because although we don’t know what happened, it probably could have been avoided with sufficient infrastructure. Here’s a picture of what there is to protect cyclists from a 30,000 pound death ram:
Maybe now someone will take responsibility to look at the poor design of this street. It’s a major north-south pathway through the university. One either end, it’s a regular street… WITH BIKE LANES! But since it goes through the university, where 50,000 students attend, with who knows how many staff, faculty and non-students.
Like me, Anthony was a non-student just trying to make his way home, no doubt.That’s right, a little paint showing that bikes can ride in the lane. This section of road has no bike lanes. But it does have parking, so all the fans (many drunk) can spend their money (in some cases, hundreds of dollars) to attend their five precious football games a year. But if there had been a bike lane instead of parking spots, would Anthony have lived?
Bike Lanes DO Save Lives
There is a wide sidewalk I sometimes use, but often can’t since it’s choked with kiddos. Unfortuantely, a block west is a car-free brick road that goes for seven whole blocks. If Anthony had taken that, he would be alive. I for one will be using the sidewalk or the brick road alot more now. In fact, on the way home, I was extra leery of the buses, even pulling off to a side street when the road got too narrow again. Better safe than sorry. Or dead.
Immediately to the right of the above, were the empty parking spots and green markings. I don’t think they were related to the accident, because there were more further down and were pretty symmetrical, but I may be wrong. I saw no evidence of the crash.
It’s interesting to note in this tweet that the newish head of the bus company rides a bike. Maybe this will lead to greater education, training, awareness, and fewer crashes and fatalities. Although biking is still far safer than driving a car, or even walking, and probably also using an electric scooter.
In another post from the CapMetro Twitter account, they said they “could not comment on an active investigation.” Of course not. How much they divulge after it has been investigated remains to be seen. Will there be criminal charges filed? A civil suit for damages? And what will the thousands of clueless scooter-users, pedestrians and cyclists passing that very spot with no knowledge of what happen do when a bus gets too close to them? Seems like we all need more safety training! As a new League Cycling Instructor, I’m happy to teach people to stay as safe as possible. But tragedy can still strike.
For now, for the family and friends of Anthony, there is only grieving. For those who didn’t we can have compassion, including for the bus driver. Even if s/he was at fault, her/his life must be a living hell right now. More details will come out, and I plan to share them here. In the meantime, stay safe, and ABC. Always Be Checking. I know I will.
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