Pedicabbers must be cautious when crossing bridges


Pedicabbers often operate their vehicles late at night.  We are working frequently when there are drunks on the road.  Skilled pedicabbers know this and adjust their routes to reduce the risks they face.  Crossing bridges while driving a pedal powered contraption can be a high risk activity.  This risk can be mitigated or removed by crossing bridges on a sidewalk.  Some bridges are worse than others.  In general bridges are straight and wide, and give a driver a sense of safety.  This sense of safety tends to cause drivers to increase their speeds.   

Bridges by their design often prevent drivers from seeing smaller vehicles and bicycles that are on the other side of the bridge’s arch, making car on bike accidents more likely. 

Cyclists and pedicabbers often get rear ended by drunk drivers while on or just after bridges.  Most Austin pedicab companies have policies against crossing the congress and south first street bridges.  Doing so will often result in fines or possible termination of a pedicab rental contract.  

There is yet another example of this in the Austin news:


 Candlelight vigil for biker killed on Congress

Suspect is charged with intoxicated manslaughter

Updated: Monday, 24 Sep 2012, 6:05 PM CDT
Published : Sunday, 23 Sep 2012, 7:52 AM CDT

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Friends have organized a candlelight vigil for the man who was hit and killed while riding his bicycle on the Congress Avenue Bridge early Sunday morning.

Close friends said Robert Anthony Ramirez, 30, was leaving work downtown when a car hit and killed him.

Witnesses told police the bicyclist was riding in the far right lane on the Congress Avenue Bridge. A black Ford Mustang was in the center lane, and passed another vehicle to the right, putting the car that hit Ramirez in the same lane as he was. A witness told police the Ford Mustang hit the cyclist and drove away.

According to the affidavit issued Monday, the witness said he could tell that the Mustang was going to hit the cyclist judging from the high rate of speed it was traveling. The witness attempted to perform CPR on the cyclist until emergency services arrived.

According to the arrest affidavit, a person who was with 26-year-old Brian Mahy called police before 7 a.m. Sunday and said he was at the Embassy Suites with Mahy, who wanted to turn himself in as the driver of the car that hit Ramirez.

Officers were sent to pick up Mahy and noticed that he appeared unsteady on his feet and had the smell of alcohol on his breath. They examined the car, which was in the parking garage at Embassy Suites. Officers also found receipts in Mahy’s wallet from three downtown bars that were printed Saturday night.

“It is probable that Brian Mahy had been out drinking all night,” the affidavit said.

Police said that pieces of Mahy’s vehicle were found at the crash scene. The vehicle’s windshield was smashed and its rearview mirror was missing. Police found the car’s rearview mirror about 150 yards from the crash scene.

No one else was in the car when the crash occurred, Mahy told police.

Mahy was charged with intoxication manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and failure to stop and render aid, a third-degree felony. The combined bail was set at $120,000.

Friends said Ramirez was a graduate of Travis High School in Austin. He had worked in the downtown area for about nine years, most recently at the Blind Pig, friends said.

The candlelight vigil for Ramirez is set for 8 p.m. Monday on the Congress Avenue Bridge. Money raised in honor of Ramirez, also known to friends by his nickname “Chops,” will go toward funeral expenses.


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