This past weekend, three motorcyclists were killed during Austin's annual ROT (Republic of Texas) biker rally. The rally began on Thursday when approximately 50,000 bikers rumbled into town and ended on Sunday when they rumbled out.
ROT Rally is the largest motorcycle rally in Texas and one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the country. It's a four-day long event that happens every year beginning on the second Thursday in June. In the Guinness Book of World Records, the annual Friday night parade is certified as the "World's Longest Parade of Motorcycles." Organizers and police estimate that this year the parade and festivities drew roughly 200,000 spectators into the downtown area.
The rally also features an impressive live music lineup (this is Austin, after all). In the past, the rally has brought star acts like Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Bret Michaels and Steppenwolf. This year's headliner was the ever-controversial, super-guitarist Ted Nugent.
Every year, the Austin Police Department steps up its downtown presence in preparation for the rally weekend. Last year the department issued a "no refusal" policy for suspected DWI offenders and netted in 37 DWI arrests. This year that policy was in place again and the number of arrests rose to 51. According to police, however, none of those arrests involved motorcycles.
The three fatal motorcycle accidents were spread out over the weekend. The first occurred Friday morning when a fifty-year-old man lost control of his bike and plummeted over the guardrail of the Highway 290 flyover at Interstate 35. He fell 40 feet to the ground below.
Late Friday a second biker died when he lost control on West Koenig Lane in front of the City of Austin Utility Office. And on Saturday morning, a biker was killed after a Lexus sedan turned into his path on MLK Boulevard.
While these tragedies were sobering reminders of the dangers of motorcycle riding, the ROT Rally as a whole was an enormous success. It's an event every Austinite should see at least once while they're here. The leather jackets, skull tattoos and thousands of bikes parked down the middle of Congress are just a few more things keeping Austin such a unique, weird and exciting place to live.
The Kyle Law Firm supports the ROT Rally and all Texas motorcyclists. The firm is proud to represent motorcyclists in both DWI defense and personal injury cases. If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident or need experienced legal representation for your DWI case, contact the Kyle Law Firm today.