With nearly 350,000 residents, and ranked in the top ten most populous US cities for biking and walking levels by the 2014 Benchmarking Report, New Orleans can seem like a wild place to consider bicycling. New Orleans has been ranked as a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community since 2011 by The League of American Bicyclists, and seventh in the nation for per capita spending on bicycle and pedestrian programs. This historical city continues to demonstrate a design well suited for short trips and bicycling.
Bicycling through New Orleans can be a fulfilling trip for the whole family. Remember these tips on French Quarter bike safety:
- Always wear a helmet. While only children under the age of 12 are required to wear a helmet, it is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes.
- Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
- Make eye contact with drivers. Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
- When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights – and make sure your bike has reflectors. All cyclists traveling after dark are required to have white reflectors on the front of the bike and red on the back to indicate their direction of travel to others on the roadway. For extra visibility and safety on the road, wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials.
- Ride on the street and keep 3 feet between you and the nearest car. Although children under the age of 15 are permitted to ride on the sidewalks, pedestrians rule the crowded sidewalks of New Orleans. For this reason, the district has developed a great number of bike lanes and paths.
- Practice the “Copenhagen Left” or the “Box Left.” This maneuver is safer than taking a left with motorist traffic. To accomplish the left turn, ride through an intersection on the right, stop and turn your bike to the left, and then proceed through the next intersection.
New Orleans also hosts numerous biking tours, special bike paths, such as the upcoming Lafitte Greenway, the Annual World Naked Bike Tour in New Orleans to raise awareness for bike safety, and The New Orleans Bike Bash: a 3-day collection of bicycle related events ranging from rides, to bike polo, to bike-in-movies, designed to provide a wide variety of fun bicycle themed activities. And if you’re still on the fence about bicycling in New Orleans, sit back as a passenger aboard a New Orleans Bike Taxi.
Biking is a healthy and generally safe activity, but accidents can still happen. If you or a loved one was involved in a bicycle accident in New Orleans, please contact Smiley Law to learn about injury aid and compensation.