AUSTIN (KXAN) — Neighbors who live along Ranch-to-Market Road 2222 are tired of noisy motorcycles going up and down the road. Many say motorcyclists are speeding, causing neighbors to worry about their safety.
Several neighbors turned to city leaders and law enforcement to find a solution. On Tuesday, Pro Tem Mayor Alison Alter, alongside the Austin Police Department, will meet with neighbors to discuss recent APD findings from data collected during patrols on MR 2222.
However, riders KXAN spoke to said there was a reason they had to be loud.
“Noisy pipes save lives,” said Gene Vergara. “When we’re riding, yes, we’re free and trying to relieve all our problems, but we’re also like, ‘OK, there’s a car over there. Where do I go? If it’s going to stop? Do I have to slow down to pass these people?Sometimes you have to drive aggressively to get out of situations and people don’t seem to understand that.
Vergara has been riding for two years but said he first fell in love with bikes when he was around eight years old thanks to his father.
“My dad, it’s his fault that I’m a fan of motorcycles,” he said. “I remember the very first time he and I got on a motorbike, and you just like to ride and we just took off for hours. It was awesome, and that’s where I got hooked.
He said he went horseback riding because it made him feel free and helped him deal with stress. However, he reiterated the reason why he and his fellow riders like to be loud.
“I think (APD) should focus on other things they have to deal with in Austin, except for us loud bikers,” Vergara said. “Yeah, it’s a residence. Do we feel bad that they are disturbed? Yeah. But do we really care? No, because it is our life that is at stake.
TxDOT reports that, on average, one motorcyclist dies every day in an accident in Texas.
Last week we heard from neighbors about the problem. Matthew Wheeler said that over the past year and a half the problem has gotten worse.
“On weekends we get hundreds and hundreds of motorcycles, racing type, flying over 2222,” Wheeler said.
That’s because Wheeler and other neighbors say there was a lack of police patrols that allowed this issue to become a bigger problem. They add that they believe these riders are taking steps to make their bikes noisier.
“Some of these people put exhaust kits on their bikes to make them louder, which doesn’t make sense to me,” Wheeler said. “For the noise to be unbearable, I can hear it, you know, I have to turn on my TV to hear it. Honestly, it looks like you’re sitting in the Circuit of the Americas watching Formula 1.”
Wheeler said he understands the APD is facing personnel shortages and does not believe the responsibility for patrols should fall entirely to the APD, as the road is a state highway and also passes through Western Travis County. .
“Overall, people are incredibly frustrated and completely upset with the city,” he said. “I think most people recognize that it’s not an ODA issue. They don’t have the bandwidth after what they’ve been through, so I think people are really fed up.
Wheeler said if the noise continued, he would eventually consider moving away.
KXAN will update the story with developments from Tuesday’s community meeting.