Cyclists visit with police chief about road safety


by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheltonG_KVUE

Posted on March 21, 2013 at 10:14 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 21 at 10:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Dozens of Austin cyclists sat down to have a “Chat with the Chief” Thursday night at a South Austin bicycle shop.

The event sponsored by the Austin Cycling Association and Please Be Kind to Cyclists is in its fifth year.

Local bike riders were armed with questions about the legal system and its inner workings. 
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo was joined by deputies from other law enforcement agencies, a representative from Austin Municipal Court, a Municipal judge and others who fielded questions for more than an hour.
Many cyclists told KVUE they’re concerned about public perception that people who hit and kill a cyclist or a pedestrian are seldom held accountable.
“Until this community starts changing its attitude about people being slaughtered on our highways as a result of the aggressive driving and negligence of others, nothing is going to change, nothing is going to change,” said Acevedo the crowd, a statement which prompted applause.
Bart Griffin, the father of Courtney Griffin, an Austin woman killed by Gabrielle Nestande, a hit-and-run driver in 2011 was also in attendance. 
Griffin and Chief Acevedo have both been supporters of S.B. 275, a proposal in the Texas Senate by Senator Kirk Watson (D) Travis County, which would stiffen penalties of anyone who hits and kills another person and flees the scene.
Chief Acevedo also announced that he will have some of his officers working undercover posing as cyclists. Any driver who gets within three feet of the cyclist which violates the City’s three-foot ordinance will get a ticket.
That effort begins in about a month.