Louisiana has the dubious distinction of once again being near the top of rankings for the most dangerous state to bicyclists. According to the Wall Street Journal, the only one with more bike-related fatalities was Florida. Whether we are first or second, it is still bad news for bicyclists out there seemingly and innocently getting exercise, lowering our carbon footprint and putting fewer cars on the roads here in Covington and around the state.
The Advocate out of Baton Rouge recently looked at the dangers for bicyclist fatalities here in Louisiana, coming up with some daunting statistics:
- New Orleans metro area was the sixth most dangerous in the country for bicyclists.
- 93 bicyclists died in Louisiana since 2015
- A total of 840 U.S. bicyclists died on the road in 2016
- 71% of crashes occur in urban settings
- The most common time for crashes was weekend evenings
- Crashes were more common during daylight than darkness
- 58% of crashes did not occur at an intersection
- Louisiana had 3.9 bicycle-related deaths per 100,000
Hostility towards bicyclists
One of the main reasons for the dangers to cyclists is that bike advocates claim there is hostility towards them from motorists, who believe the roads are only for cars and trucks. Bicyclists enjoy all the same rights of the road as motor vehicles. It is also worth noting that it is illegal to taunt, harass or throw objects at cyclists.
Bikers need to protect themselves
Helmets are a smart first step for safe bike riding, but the protection of an injured biker’s rights is also essential. The injure and their families can seek legal recourse if they are victims of negligence by motor vehicle drivers. Not only does it ensure that the other party is punished, but compensation can also help cover lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.