Officials offer tips on how cyclists, drivers can safely share the road

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 11 at 8:01 PM

Sheba Turk / Eyewitness News
Email: sturk@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvtraffic

NEW ORLEANS -- One cyclists' ride through the French Quarter ended on a stretcher. Eyewitnesses say she collided with a taxi while riding her bike against traffic.

"First of all, the bike lane is telling her she can't go against it, but she go against it and hit the back of my car. So I hope she's okay," explains cab driver Lou Joseph.

Accidents like this are not uncommon. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission says bicycles were involved in nearly 900 accidents across the state just last year.

The New Orleans director of public works, Col. Mark Jernigan, explained how bike lanes have become the new normal since Hurricane Katrina.

“Since 2005 the city of New Orleans has expanded our bicycle facilities from about 11 miles in 2005 to over 50 miles in 2012. What you see is two types of facilities. A shared lane, a bicycle diagram in the center with some arrows, that’s a shared lane. Then you’ve got a dedicated bike lane.”

Jernigan points out that New Orleanians are still adjusting to sharing the roads.

The local group Bike Easy says these simple rules can help keep everyone safe.

Just like cars, cyclists must obey traffic signals and ride in the direction of traffic.

And if drivers must enter a dedicated bike lane to turn or park, they are supposed to yield to cyclists.

The push to make New Orleans more bike friendly continues. New bike lanes are on the way to Esplanade Avenue and Broadway Street, and over the next year, the city plans to add another 10 miles of bikeways.

Right now, officials are working to set up a bike share program here in the metro area. Plus, Bike to Work Day is set for April 9.

So if you want to jump on this biking trend, the group Bike Easy offers free community bicycle workshops. For more information, visit http://bikeeasy.org/projects/community-bicycle-workshops

 

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