Cycling offers numerous health gains, making it a popular outdoor activity in New Orleans. Sadly, cyclists are prone to injuries or, worse still, death. According to NOLA news, bike accidents are still high in Louisiana.
Nonetheless, the city still seeks to promote cycling by creating new bike lanes and stringent laws to enhance rider safety.
Here is how to stay safe while cycling in New Orleans:
1. Join the Blue Bikes Share Program
Bicycle lovers can sign up for the Blue Bikes Program and move around New Orleans. Blue bikes are cost-effective and safe yet easily accessible.
Some studies reveal that it is safer and less likely to incur accidents when using Bike Share than when using a personal bicycle. Blue bikes are installed in different locations, for instance, from Jackson Avenue to St. Roch near the Bywater. Information on bike hubs is easily accessible from the Blue Bikes website.
What is Blue Bikes all about? The Blue Bikes Share program is a collaboration between the city of New Orleans and Drop and is funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.
2. Learn Louisiana Biking Laws
Biking laws vary from state to state and understanding what is expected while cycling in New Orleans enhances safety.
For instance, cyclists should not impede vehicle traffic or ride more than two abreast. Cyclists should also understand hand signals; they come in handy when traffic lights are not functional.
3. Use Bicycle lights/ Helmets/ Reflectors
Bicycle helmets protect the head from severe injuries in case of accidents. According to Systematic reviews of bicycle helmet research, helmets help reduce injuries to upper and mid-facial areas by 65%. Again, Louisiana laws require bikers below 12 years to wear a bicycle helmet, whether as an operator or passenger. Reflective clothing is also useful at night; cyclists should wear white reflectors and lights in front and red on the back. Doing this makes it easy for other drivers to spot them at night.
4. Cycle on the Right!
Cyclists should ride on the right and avoid sidewalks; these should be left for pedestrians. Moreover,
Louisiana laws expect bikers to cycle in the direction of traffic; doing this avoids issues with traffic law enforces and enhances safety .
5. Keep the Lanes Clear
Driving in or blocking a bike lane can warrant a traffic ticket in Louisiana. Cyclists should look out for dotted lines, and this is where to cross over or make a turn.
6. Maintain Louisiana Speed Limits
Cycling at high speeds raises the likelihood of accidents, and all bikers should abide by Louisiana speed limits. For instance, cyclists using Tammy Trace should remember that the speed limit has since been reduced from 20 to 15 miles/ hr after the St. Tammany Parish Council approved the law-NOLA news.
7. Choose Routes Wisely
Know the best bike trails and consider quieter streets with minimal traffic. Examples of new bike trails and paths in New Orleans include; the Mississippi River Trail, Audubon Park, Pontchartrain Lakefront Trail, etc.
Other benefits of using dedicated bike trails are:
- Improved traffic flow
- Enhanced safety
- Safe sidewalks
- Additional biking space on roadways
Which Streets are Most Suitable for Cycling?
New Orleans is famous for its scenic beauty and boasts various biking adventures. Check out the best streets for cycling;
1. Lakefront Trail
The Lakefront Trail allows cyclists to explore the vast Lake Pontchartrain, which means endless beautiful views. The ride begins at the New Orleans border, west of 17th Street Canal in Bucktown.
The trail exposes bikers to the metropolitan area, an opportunity to view the marinas in Bucktown. For anyone seeking to meet other cyclists, Lakefront Train is worth considering.
2. The Lafitte Greenway
Lafitte Greenway is a 2.6-mile path extending from Louis Armstrong Park outside the French Quarter. It is a popular bicycle and pedestrian pathway rolling through various neighborhoods.
Lafitte Greenway is a perfect route for cyclists traveling to downtown or Mid-City and is often used by many bikers, joggers, and pedestrians. Due to the increasing number of eateries along the path, cyclists find it easy to grab their favorite drinks and snacks while on the go.
3. The Ferry Loop
The Ferry Loop stretches 45 miles through Oregon’s scenery allowing riders adequate time for an exhilarating adventure. It starts and ends at the Canal Street Ferry terminal, and cyclists can ride through French Quarter along Decatur Street.
On the other hand, Decatur street ends at Chartres Street, leading to Bywater’s end. The good thing about this long stretch is that one can always buy snacks and drinks, thanks to the many eateries available.
4. Mississippi River Levee Trail
The Mississippi River Levee trail makes a perfect option for cyclists seeking well-maintenance pavements. It is a long stretch extending from the western/upriver edge of Audubon Zoo to Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish.
The Mississippi River path is one of the most serene pathways for cyclists, with no interruptions from motor vehicles or police officers. The stunning view of the Mississippi River makes it a favorite option for bikers who enjoy cycling against the wind.
Understanding Bicycle Laws and Accident Liability
Cyclists must abide by road regulations to enhance road safety. Examples of Louisiana cyclist laws include;
- Cyclists should ride on the road’s shoulder
- Understanding traffic hand signals, for instance, when to turn, slow down or stop.
- Cyclists and passengers under 12 years old should wear a helmet while riding.
- Keeping to the right when overtaking another or making left turns. Bicyclists should keep right when moving left to evade potholes or other unsafe road conditions
- Be visible! If cycling in poor weather, cyclists should wear reflective gear or use a white light beam, allowing other road users to spot them
- Undertaking regular brake checks; faulty brakes can cause skids and accidents.
- Keeping off highways- Cyclists should stick to back roads and avoid the interstates.
- Not riding more than two people abreast unless cycling on a bicycle-only street.
- Strap children under 40 pounds with a restraining seat when cycling.
Engaging a skilled attorney after incurring injuries in a bicycle crash saves time and helps hold the responsible party liable. Call the firm today at 504-526-2222 or contact us online so that you can set up a consultation.