APD stepping up enforcement of cycling safety with drivers, cyclists

As part of Austin Bike Month, Austin Police Department is seeking to raise awareness about cycling safety and the new Vulnerable Users Law. This spring and summer, officers will conduct sting operations to catch motor vehicles in violation of the “3-foot” or Vulnerable Users Law that requires motorists to give bicyclists and other vulnerable road users at least 3 feet of space when passing. Large trucks and buses are required to provide at least 6 feet of space when passing a vulnerable road user. Beginning May 8, undercover cops will be looking for cars and bikes breaking the mandate.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said his department’s new initiative is about raising awareness and enforcement. “The time for excuses is over, and the time for not knowing what the law is, is over,” the chief said.

The crackdown isn’t just for drivers, either. APD will also be handing out tickets to cyclists who don’t obey the law. “Enforcement is a really big step forward for Austin,” Stanton Truxillo with the Austin Cycling Association said. “This looks like a pretty even-handed cyclist and motorist, and it looks like it’s the best way to do it.”

APD averages about 540 bicycle citations per year, which is about one half of one percent of all tickets issued.

The citations APD will issue are Class C misdemeanors, which is the same as a speeding ticket, running a red light or rolling a stop sign. View “Safe Passing for Austin’s Cyclists” PSA here.