Biking in New Orleans might be less of an uphill battle these days
I am very much in favor of bike lanes and bike safety here in New Orleans. And the bicyclists should lead the way.
I used to bike to work. It was the best thing I ever did for myself. I worked in the Quarter and lived in Bayou St. John and it was a great ride down Esplenade. I lost 20 or so pounds. My rest heart rate was in the mid 50s. I felt great. I saw the city from yet another unique perspective.
I also stopped at lights, rode on the correct side of the street, anticipated opening car doors, and stayed on the inside lane. I didn’t want to get hit by cars and I respected them for being massive, fast chunks of metal driven by careless people and in one incident, a woman putting on eyeliner.
As a driver, I treat bikes like cars and have the same expectations of them as cars. If I get to a four-way stop before you, that means I have right of way. I know it is harder to get back up to speed but bicyclists should really try to stop or at least slow down at these intersections.
In the French Quarter, Chartres, Bourbon, and Burgundy run toward Esplenade and Royal and Dauphine run toward Canal. So those are the directions bicyclists need to take when going in those directions.
Uptown bicyclists should use common sense by taking Tchoup, St. Charles or Prytania when going upriver and downriver. Magazine Street is dangerous for cars, saying nothing of little alloy bicycles with delicate femurs, cervical spines, vertebrae and humeruses. Sure, bikes are legally allowed on Magazine but, the Law of Darwin states it isn’t a safe street for cycling.
Has this situation ever happened to you on Magazine? There is a bicyclist on the inside of the lane, a few feet into traffic. You are in a car behind him or her. You manage to pass them using the 3 foot rule and begin to leave them behind as you accelerate, glad that nervous, time-destroying incident is in your rearview. But wait, there is a stoplight. As you wait at the red light the bicyclist you just passed goes straight through it. Repeat previous scenario for 4000, 3000, 2000 blocks.
Let’s also not forget the sanctimonious attitudes of many bicyclists. Perhaps it is through a sense of entitlement that they believe they can defy road laws? They who are staying in shape and not contributing to the demise of the free world through consumption of gasoline.
I love biking around. It’s very fun. I have respect for those who do it. But many of them are way too careless with their own lives and the future anxieties of the drivers who hit them.
I’ll never forget the guy who was in the center lane of traffic with his iPod in his ears and he went right through the red light at Poydras and Perdido, one of the busiest intersections in the CBD.
These paragraphs from the article confuse me…
When Schnoebelen saw a billboard promoting a state law passed last year requiring motorists to allow at least 3 feet of space when passing a bicyclist, he found the concept somewhat impractical, especially on the city’s narrow streets.
Conducting his own experiment, Schnoebelen taped a 3-foot yardstick to his handlebars and biked his normal route. As a line of cars stacked up behind him, one driver finally pulled up beside him. Schnoebelen explained the new law, and the driver sped off, but not before shaking his fist and cursing. Needless to say, the yardstick didn’t last, at least at its original length, for more than a few days.
The law is impractical because 3 feet is too much or too little? The yardstick didn’t last because cars were hitting it or because it was getting hit on trees, buildings, so forth? The driver was cursing and shaking his fist because he was upset at the law?
Following a link from a link in the article I found what I hoped were laws governing bikes but the PDF seems like it is actually made up of guidelines.
Many of these seem difficult to enforce if they were laws.
Be aware that bicyclists not traveling in the extreme right of the lane may be trying to avoid
gravel, debris, bad pavement, sewer grates and other obstacles.
Is that a law? A law requiring awareness? How can a ticket be written for this?
I like this one…
Use hand signals and eye contact to communicate your actions with other drivers on the road.
So is that an actual law? Because very seldom do I see hand signals. It is always appreciated when I do, I just hardly ever see it. If bicyclists are required to use these it would seems there are a ton of rule-breaking rogues out there with holier-than-thou attitudes. I will begin to call the police when I see them not using hand signals.
Obey the instructions of official traffic control signals and signs. Stop at stop signs and for
stoplights just like a motor vehicle.
I can say with certainty that I have never seen a bicyclist stop at a stop sign in the French Quarter. This law is probably disregarded most often.
Will these guidelines help determine fault in an accident? Having to pay damages or higher insurance is where many people are going to pay attention.
I’m on your side cyclists, just don’t want to see anyone get hurt because they don’t realize the same rules apply to combustion engines as well your little feets.