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Austin bike crashes on the decline

Bike crashes in Austin are on the decline. (CBS Austin)

Bike crashes in Austin are on the decline.

If you stand at the corner of Red River and 4th street, right outside the Austin Convention Center, you’re sure to see a plethora of cyclist pass by on the Lance Armstrong Bikeway.

Most cyclists we spoke with said as long as they’re riding in a protected bike lane, they feel safe.

“I think having protected bike lanes and more people around (riding), the city is just more aware,” said downtown cyclist, Nicole Renaux.

Renaux is part of the estimated 8-10 percent of urban Austinites who rely on two wheels to get around downtown.

In 2014, the city moved in a pro-cyclist direction when they started construction on new bike lanes under the Austin Bicycle Master Plan. After the plan was implemented, Austin-Travis County EMS data shows a 20 percent decline in bike crashes the very next year.

Crashes have been on the decline ever since.

This year, ATCEMS reports only 44 crashes in the first four months. In 2012, there were 587 with four fatalities.

“The city has done a great job in building safe infrastructure,” said Mercy Feris, executive director with Bike Austin, one of the city’s biggest advocacy groups for safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.

Feris attributes the decline in crashes to main things; the addition of more bike lanes throughout the city and an increase in cyclist.

“If you have more people riding their bike, motorist are more aware,” said Feris.

Even though the city has improved mobility for cyclist and alleviated congestion for motorist, Feris encourages the city to continue to downward trend of bike crashes by adding more protected bike lanes in areas that need them. Areas that run north and south, like Burnet, Lamar, and Manor road. Also east and west, like Rundberg in North Austin, 11th street and 12th street.

Feris said safety for all commuters; comes when all are aware of one another surroundings.

“I stay away from cars as much as possible, because you never win with a car,” said cyclist Richard Zelade as he passed Red River headed east on 4th Street.

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