I finally got some details after my persistence and
phone calls (no one at APD has answered my emails). The
cyclist was hit the morning of Oct 21st is named Mathew
Rodieck<sp?> and the driver who hit the cyclist is
named Jennifer Brown (the APD case number is #032940321).
Although I have not seen the official document (I have
to go downtown and pay $6 for a copy...), I was told the
following: The driver failed to yield (i.e. ran the stop
sign) and hit the cyclist. From what I can gather the
motorist was using the ramps as a means to by-pass slower
traffic on MoPac and sped through the intersection.
A ticket was issued and the officer who issued the
ticket is named Tim Hargrove (badge #1623).
There is no information on the extent of injury -
evidently I need to contact the hospital for this info
(the cyclist was taken to Breckenridge). An onlooker saw
the cyclist placed in the ambulance unconscious... I
would assume the cyclist was not killed? (certainly the
police records would indicate such?)
I need to report to our neighborhood association and
residents the details and extent of injury from this
accident. The location (Westover/Northwood Mopac
interchange) is used extensively by both cyclist and
pedestrians some of whom are children commuting to school
via bike. Please see email below for further details
describing this very dangerous intersection.
I'd like to add some information about traffic at
Mopac and Westover/Northwood. The off-ramps and on-ramps
for this intersection dump directly onto a neighborhood
street. There are no sidewalks at this intersection
(Westover has one that ends 50 yards from the
intersection) and pedestrians and bicyclists here use a
combination of the shoulder and overgrown areas.
One big safety improvement was the addition of painted
bicyclist lanes a year or so ago which has kept vehicles
off the shoulders.
However, the Mopac traffic empties speeding traffic
off the northbound off-ramp directly onto
Northwood. And afternoon/evening commuters
regularly use the southbound off-ramp as a bypass to
slower traffic on Mopac, crossing Westover and getting
directly back onto the the southbound on-ramp. At
some times of the day, there are more motorists doing
this than there are those truly exiting Mopac. When
it's very busy, the southbound off-ramp backs up, and
cars begin coming down the shoulder of the off-ramp to
pass the backed up off-ramp traffic, turn right at
Westover and immediately do a u-turn (thus avoiding the
wait) so they can get immediately back onto the
southbound off-ramp. In fact, I have seen people in
TxDOT cars do this!
The have been a couple occasions when people were out
monitoring this intersection. When I saw them, it
was during the quieter part of the day, where there's
only the occasional speeder. As rush hour
approaches, there are increasing numbers of cars going
~50mph on this road, until traffic backs up to the point
where speeding is no longer possible. But this only
adds to the number of angry, frantic drivers at the
time. As rush hour clears, the cars speeds go back
up. After the rush, traffic returns to a more reasonable
and safe state. If someone were to monitor this
intersection, it would be important to see it during the
heavier commuter hours. This is when the overflow traffic
ends up on the neighborhood streets.
I'm surprised there aren't more auto accidents here in
general, *especially* at the southbound off-ramp, due to
the difficult conditions with turning left from the
off-ramp onto Northwood. I'm not sure traffic
lights make sense on an off-ramp, but that clearly is a
dangerous left turn.
I wish I had more suggestions on how to improve the
situation. Signs indicating that cyclists
should follow the flow of traffic would probably
help. Sidewalks would be a big improvement for the
inevitable pedestrian traffic (as I've heard it, TxDOT at
one time wouldn't put up pedestrian traffic signs because
it might encourage pedestrian traffic). As this is
a neighborhood, you're going to get pedestrians
regardless. Furthermore, this intersection feeds
Casis Elementary, just up around the corner at
Exposition. Some of the pedestrians and bicyclists
are elementary school students. (The bicyclist who
was hit today was not a student).
It may be the case that this is just not a smart
location for freeway access. I know closing it is one of
the options TxDOT considered as part of the proposed
Mopac expansion. Another longshot possibility is
closing off the off-ramps at rush hours, as this is when
the roads here are most dangerous.