The Republic of Texas Biker Rally is the largest ticketed-admission motorcycle rally in the United States, drawing upwards of 40,000 visitors every year. The four-day event – which, this year, is June 8 through 11 – is normally a peaceful gathering. But every year, there are least a handful of incidents that require police involvement.
If you’re participating in ROT Rally this year, or attending as a spectator, make sure you’re aware of the kinds of incidents that have happened in the past, so you can steer clear of danger.
Previous ROT Rally Accidents and Arrests
Alcohol is often a factor in ROT Rally crashes. In 2013, police charged a motorcyclist with intoxication manslaughter, stemming from a crash on June 13. The man lost control of his bike on Interstate 35 after striking a curb, and his passenger died in the ensuing crash. A police blood draw found the motorcyclist had a blood alcohol level of .207 – more than twice the legal limit of intoxication.
The Austin Police Department announced in April 2017 the expansion of its “No Refusal” enforcement campaign, which will be in effect every Friday and Saturday this year, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.. No Refusal means that when police stop a motorist for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, and the motorist refuses a breath test or blood test, police may obtain a warrant from a judge to do a blood test on the motorist. Last year at ROT Rally, APD’s No Refusal enforcement resulted in the arrest of 33 motorcyclists for driving under the influence of alcohol.
In a separate incident, police arrested a motorcyclist who was traveling at a dangerous speed along the ROT Rally parade route and weaving in and out of traffic. He refused to stop, and it took six officers to finally cut off his motorcycle and force him to stop, at which point they detected a strong odor of alcohol on the man.
Officials Offer Tips for Motorists
Austin drivers should exercise a higher level of caution during ROT Rally, to avoid crashes with motorcycles. Capt. Rick Rutledge of Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services told FOX 7 News in 2015 that when pulling out onto a road from a side street, a “quick glance to your left” may not allow for enough time to see an approaching motorcyclist. Because bikes are narrow, they can easily be obscured by trees or utility poles, so other drivers should allow a few seconds, when checking to see if the road is clear of traffic.
In 2016, APD received reports of a person or people throwing rocks from an overpass at I-35 motorists. APD Chief Art Acevedo warned people coming to town for ROT Rally about the incidents and advised them to stay out of the left lane, where most of the rock-throwing incidents occurred. He also advised motorcyclists to follow each other at a safe distance, to avoid a chain-reaction crash, in the event one bike was hit in a rock-throwing attack.
Most of the ROT Rally crashes that have happened over the years could have been avoided, if riders avoided speeding, reckless maneuvers, or riding under the influence of alcohol. Other drivers and pedestrians can help protect themselves from negligent motorcyclists by being aware of their surroundings.
If you have suffered an injury in a crash with a motorcyclist, discuss it with one of the attorneys at the Austin, TX-based Evans Law Firm. As personal injury attorneys with years of experience, we help the people of Texas put their lives back on track. We offer small law firm attention with big law firm results. Call today at 1-855-414-1012 or fill out this online contact form to find out how we can help you.