Austin Bike News Roundup for October 29, 2020

The shortage of bicycles has been a sign of increased numbers of people riding during the pandemic. But it’s made it hard to find a new bike if you are in the market. Today though I noticed that Sun and Ski Sports has a bunch of Cannondale bikes for sale. The men’s is black, sleek and yet heavier than expected. (I didn’t see any women’s but they’re yellow.) With a 2 x 5 set-up, 10 gears will get you zipping around town on short jaunts at least. They’re a cool $725, but come with a service guarantee. The guys in the bike shop are great so if you’re in the market, get thee to their shop ASAP! These babies won’t last long. (I’m not paid for this mention.) Here’s a look.

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Hey Austinites! Advocate for Protected Bike Lanes on Burnet Road and Congress Avenue

The advocacy and education organization with which I’ve volunteered over the last four years, Bike Austin sent out two recent messages about protected lanes on two major streets. Regular bike lanes are just painted lines on the road. As such, they provide only some protection from cars only if the drivers respect them. (Many do, plenty don’t.) Lanes that use some sort of barrier to separate cars and bikes offer riders protection. For many riders, that is the difference between riding their bike on the street or letting it collect dust in the shed. Because car drivers cannot be trusted, I’m generally for protected lanes, even when they aren’t the most fun or convenient. While they may not be as urgent as other issues, bike lanes can also be a matter of life or death.

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12 Bicycle-Related Groups in Austin, Texas You Should Know About

On this Martin Luther King Day, I’m still thinking about the death of an African-American cyclist, Merry “Cookie” Daye. She was killed in the bike lane in a hit and run in December. On the 50th anniversary of MLK’s death, I wrote a blog about him (MLK On a Bike, The Struggle for Justice, and My First Bicycle Consulting Client). Transportation justice is a real thing, since we cyclists are treated like second-class citizens. In Cookie’s case, the authorities have still not found the murderer.

I’ve been thinking about the fact that there appears to be little coordination among the various non-profit bike groups here in Austin, Texas. The group of advocates seems like a small community; the things I get to tend to have the same few advocates. And many do different things. But as a first step to possibly bringing them together in a coalition, I thought I would list the ones I know.

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Silent Ride of Remembrance for Merry “Cookie” Daye: ¡Presente!

The rain stopped, clouds parted, and the sun came out on a winter Saturday in Austin. Fifty or so bicyclists gathered underneath the Browning Hangar, the first of its kind, a now refurbished WWII era structure built with wooden trusses. A sense of history was fitting for the somber purpose: to celebrate the life and commemorate the death of Merry “Cookie” Katheryn Daye. She was the fourth Austin Cyclist to die in 2019 in a crash, in this case a hit-and-run with a truck. We rode slowly and quietly to the crash site and had a gathering, and then returned. It was a fitting event.

The tragedy still hurts for the family members and strangers alike who didn’t know her but felt the pain and loss, even indirectly. This gathering was a step toward healing, community and preventing further senseless deaths. Perhaps, some justice will come out of this. That is why I initiated the idea for this ride and facilitated conversations to make sure it happened. At the end of the day, while the ride was a success due to no incidents and some media coverage, Cookie is gone. And that is just wrong, and it hurts. But her memory lives on.

[POST IN PROGRESS, MORE PHOTOS LATER]

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A Rainy, Restful Day on the Eve of Solstice for a Bike Ridin’ Dude in Austin, Texas

Late autumn conditions have been dry, mostly sunny and not too cold here in Central Texas. Waking to some light rain and grey skies was a welcome change, just in time for winter which officially begins tomorrow. For a car-less dude like me, going places generally means getting on Sophie the Fairdale Weekender Archer bicycle and dealing with whatever Mother Nature throws at me. While I was prepared to ride in the rain, it turned out that I didn’t need to and so I chose not to take advantage and rest.

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Austin Bicyclist 2019 Death #4: Merry Daye, 45 – On the Very Road Where Bike Austin is Calling for Protected Lanes

At 2:25 am on Monday, December 16, 2019, Merry Daye, a black woman aged 45 and a male were riding their bikes south on Cameron Road. Her bike had a trailer, and she was working on it while in the bike lane. The man was on the sidewalk. A silver Dodge Ram truck (the irony of the name is not lost on me) veered into the bike lane, crashing into Merry, bike and trailer. The truck then did a hit and run and left the scene. Emergency medical services was called and came to the crash site. They found Merry without a pulse, but were able to restore her heartbeat. She was transported to the hospital where she died. For her, family and friends, it will be Christmas without Merry. Sources: CBS Austin, KXAN, Austin Police Department

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North East Austin Texas Bike Group Ride #3 to Find Bad Bike Infrastructure

Dear Austin, Texas: We know, you’re the Live Music Capital of the World. You like to Keep it Weird. You’re the People’s Republic of Austin. You got a Gold rating from the League of American Cyclists in 2015. And yes, you are making some improvements with Mobility Bond money. To be sure, you are way ahead of Dallas or Laredo or many other places. But you can’t sit on your laurels. So, A Dude respectfully disagrees about the bike lanes being paved with gold. That’s because I ride your streets practically every day, and from where I sit (on my bike seat), you have a LONG way to go. Let’s talk about one small step we in the tiny but mighty North East  Austin Texas Bicycle Group took for bicycling kind.

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Bike Lanes on Cameron & Dessau Roads – City of Austin Listening Session

This past Thursday the City of Austin (Texas) Active Transportation Department had a gathering for interested citizens to come give their input about bike lanes. These roads are really the same, they just change names. After passing one highway, it becomes a six-lane death trap from hell, if you’re on a bicycle. As a cyclist who volunteered numerous times on a committee for just this cause, I was keen to go and see this project finally start to come to life. It’s always interesting to participate in the process of something that could save your own life and that of friends and neighbors. Isn’t that something every bike rider should get behind?

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