BIKE SAFETY IN LAFAYETTE
One need only look around the highways and byways of Acadiana to notice the rising popularity of bicycling. More than 100 million Americans rode a bike in 2014 and with environmentalists and urban planners emphasizing green and pedestrian initiatives, more and more communities are catering to bicyclists. Closer to home, the city of Lafayette declared the first week of June, 2019 “Bicycle Safety Week,” proclaiming that the “bicycle is a healthy means to enjoy the scenic beauty of Lafayette Parish and the Acadiana Region via the numerous trails including the Acadiana Park Mountain Bike Trail and the Atakapa-Ishak Trail.”
There are more bicyclists on the road and more motorists. How to keep both safe? There are laws for that, as you might expect.
Bicyclists must follow the rules of the road, just like a motorist. In fact, both the state of Louisiana and city of Lafayette have specific laws pertaining to cycling. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s website contains a full rundown of bicycle regulations. It should come as no surprise that Louisiana Law requires that any person under the age of 12 riding a bicycle, whether as an operator or a passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet. La. R.S. 32:199.
In Louisiana, bicycles are considered vehicles. A bicyclist has all of the rights and duties of the driver of a vehicle. However, Louisiana does not require that bicyclist use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane.
Meanwhile, motorists, when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, are required by law to exercise due care while passing the bicycle. Furthermore, the driver passing the cyclist must leave a safe distance of not less than 3 feet and shall maintain that clearance until safely past the bicycle. Furthermore, the motorist overtaking a bicycle traveling in the same direction in a no-passing zone may do so only when it is safe. La. R.S. 32:76.1.
Louisiana Law requires that bicyclist ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except:
1-when overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction
2-when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway
3- when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge of roadway, including a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane
4-when approaching a place where a right turn is authorized
5- when operating upon a roadway or a highway, where there are two or more marked traffic lanes and traffic travels in only one direction, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near the left-hand curb or shoulder of that roadway as practicable when preparing for a left turn. La. R.S. 32:197
The personal injury lawyers at the Lafayette law firm of Joseph Joy and Associates have decades of experience representing clients injured due to the negligence of someone else. One would think that riding a bicycle on a sidewalk would be a hazard to pedestrians. However, surprisingly, Louisiana does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk. However, the city of Lafayette does in fact have laws regulating bicyclists.
Lafayette Sec. 86-73. Cycles and human powered vehicles on sidewalks.
(a) A person propelling a cycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right of way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.
(b) A person shall not ride a cycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, where such use of cycles is prohibited by official traffic-control devices.
(c) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.
So be careful out there, whether you are a motorist or a bicyclist. If you or a loved one is injured in a car – bike accident, please call us at 337-232-8123. The law offices of Joseph Joy and Associates can ensure you get proper legal representation, and the compensation you deserve.