NEW ORLEANS — After the deaths of three bicyclists in a 10-day span, dozens of people spoke before the New Orleans City Council demanding safer streets.
Hours later, the council unanimously passed a resolution for change.
The resolution calls on the Cantrell Administration to install more protected bike lanes and update policies dealing with bicyclists. It would also improve the enforcement of traffic laws, promote education about cycling laws and close off certain routes to cars during major events, including Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest.
The resolution also aims to fast-track an initiative approved three years ago to redesign the most dangerous intersection for bicyclists in each council district.
Sharree Walls' family was watching and listening the whole time.
Walls is the bicyclist who was killed on the Saturday before Mardi Gras when she was run over by an alleged drunk driver that crashed into a group of bicyclists, killing Walls, David Hynes and injuring several other people.
“I’m glad that attention was drawn to this,” Sharree’s mother Lois Benjamin said. “I had no idea the issues here in New Orleans regarding bicyclists and I don’t think Sharree was aware of the danger.”
Her parents, sister and niece came in from Missouri and Illinois to be there.
“It gave us a chance to see a change that could happen in this city for people who are riding their bikes and hopefully this change can save lives,” Caries Walls, Sharree’s father, said.
Sharree’s grieving mother and father know the changes won’t change their loss, but are hopeful for the future.
“I hate from the bottom of my heart, from my gut, that it’s this way,” Sharree’s mother said. “But then her dying won’t be in vain.”
The resolution now moves on to the mayor's office.