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Advocates say changes needed on Central Austin street where bus killed cyclist

Bicycle advocates say safety changes are needed for the street near the University of Texas campus where a bicyclist was hit and killed by a Cap Metro bus. (Photo: CBS Austin)

Bicycle advocates say safety changes are needed for the street near the University of Texas campus where a bicyclist was hit and killed by a Cap Metro bus.

39-year-old Anthony John Diaz was killed Monday night after a bus hit him while riding on San Jacinto Boulevard near 23rd Street.

The investigation is still ongoing a week later. The bus driver is suspended during Cap Metro’s internal investigation, which is standard procedure.

University of Texas Police say no charges have been filed. Investigators are also still looking to talk with seven of the 11 passengers on the bus to learn more about what happened.

After the crash, bicycle advocates like Tristan Heinen have been emailing back and forth talking about the crash and what can be done.

Heinen is a UT student and a member of the Bicycle Advisory Council in Austin. He rides San Jacinto every day and says it can be a dangerous road for bicyclists. "It's total chaos, total chaos,” Heinen said. "It's just a mix of cars, bikes, buses, scooters."

Amidst all that, there is no bicycle lane. Bicyclists must share traffic lanes with vehicles both northbound and southbound. "You're sharing traffic with the buses, you’ve got large vehicles trying to pass you,” Heinen said. "It's felt to me before like I'm taking my life into my own hands biking here."

That’s why he said San Jacinto should have a two-lane, divided bike lane. That way bicyclists can travel separately from traffic. He said a 2013 bicycle master plan does include a divided bike lane on San Jacinto. However, he said the plan doesn’t say when the lanes would be built.

Heinen hopes this crash highlights the need for change. "Hopefully this can serve as kind of a wake up call for the university that everyone's safety is at risk by keeping the road in this current condition... it's a very dangerous environment,” Heinen said.

Any witnesses who have not been interviewed are being asked to call the UT Police Department at 512-471-4441 and use option nine to get in contact with a dispatcher.

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