From the meeting with the Art Acevedo yesterday, I learned that cyclist and car collisions are not the not the only incidents where the person at fault does not receive a ticket. Apparently, of the 40,000 collision incidents called in to APD last year, only about 1/2 of the people actually stuck around for a cop to come to the scene. Of those 20,000, only 8,500 were issued citations. Overall, only 20% of collisions end with a citation.
I think this needs to change. I've said it before - obviously when 2 objects collide on the road, one - or both - of the parties are at fault and if no citation is issued, there is no consequence for running that red light, killing that cyclist, or running over that pedestrian. I'm not all about big governments, but laws are in place to keep citizens safe and when they're not being enforced, it is hard to trust the enforcers.
Second of all, I think the Police Chief needs crack open the dusty bicycle law handbook and read it over a time or two. I think he served as a great example to himself and everyone in the room - though not meaning too - that APD knows little to nothing about bicycle laws in the city of Austin. I give props to everyone for calling him out when he had no clue what he was talking about...
...Boy oh, boy, did he ever upset me when he said cyclists should use "common sense" or "better judgment" and move out of the way when a car gets pissed off behind you. Cyclists should "share the road" and "be courteous." FUCK THAT!! What about drivers sharing the road with us (seeing as how we are a vehicle) and being courteous when we're around?? This lecture of "common sense" went on for a while... "Just use common sense," he kept saying. "We want you guys to be safe." Then he went on to talk about how it upsets him when drivers don't yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk... that he'll just step out in front of the car. (I'll paraphrase)... "It is law that motorists have to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, and people may think I'm crazy, but I'll step out in front of a car if I have the right to walk." C'mon now, Mr. Acevedo... Is that the wisest thing to do?? Does your common sense tell you that stepping out in front of a 2 ton vehicle is the safest way to handle the situation??
In response to the lack of citations at collision scenes involving cyclists and motorists, Mr. Acevedo said, "If the witnesses stuck around and there is enough evidence to prove one or both parties are at fault, we should be issuing tickets." I understand APD should be issuing tickets, but obviously they're not... So, what are you going to do the enforce and ensure that citations are being issued when they should be?
Overall, I thought he and the two other lieutenants (Donald Baker and Brian Gruetzner) were very responsive and willing. Mr. Acevedo spoke about a lot of things the department needs, or more resources he wishes the city had. My biggest concern is, since we don't have these spiffy gadgets you speak of, how are we going to improve our conditions? How do you plan to change the department and the city in regard to bicycle law, safety, and prosecution with the resources we currently have? Can we see a plan?
If you guys didn't make it out, you missed out. I really enjoyed being able to speak up to the Chief of Police and voice my concerns. We all had great questions last night, and even better comments!! Glad everyone could make it!!!
On Monday, March 23 from 6-9PM, there will be a City Council Candidate Forum on cycling and pedestrian issues. It will be located at 301 East 8th street (corner of San Jacinto). From my understanding, it will be much like the forum held last night.. Questions, answers, and tons of passion.
See you guys there!!
11 hours ago