We hope you never need a lawyer for a New Orleans bike accident. However, if you have been injured in a Louisiana bike-car collision, by a defective bicycle product, or because of an unsafe road condition, New Orleans attorney Charlie Thomas is ready to help.
Charlie is a passionate cyclist – he has been a bike mechanic, a state cycling champion, and a former Category 2 racer who has ridden more than 50,000 miles. He is also a League Cycling Instructor and currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Bike Easy.
Charlie is passionate about helping injured bicyclists. He recently made international news in helping amend a faulty police report in the death of Canadian touring cyclist.
Charlie welcomes your call for a free consultation. He may be reached at 844-531-754 or by e-mail at [email protected].
Biking in New Orleans
New Orleans, with its flat neighborhood streets, expanding network of bike lanes and paths, and relatively compact city core, is a great place to ride a bike – and the bike culture is alive and well in the Big Easy, local cyclists say.
New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 20015. Since then, millions of dollars have flowed into the city to repair damaged infrastructure, including roads and bridges. That rebuilding has benefited the bicycling community in New Orleans.
“In the Katrina aftermath, federal recovery dollars in New Orleans brought a ton of road projects,” says Dan Favre, executive director of Bike Easy, New Orleans’ leading cycling advocacy group. The board of directors includes Louisiana Bike Law attorney Charlie Thomas.
Favre adds, “With the complete streets ordinance and political will, bike facilities were included. However, those facilities followed the road construction versus a planned network. There was not much thought put into the overall picture of a connected bicycle network. But by targeting a few spots, it could turn into a nice system.”
Bike Easy is the primary advocacy group for local cyclists, but Favre says “there are a lot of great groups in town, from the guys who pound out 40 miles in the morning before work to the groups of 150 that do the slow cruises in the evening with neon lights on their bikes.”
100 Miles of New Orleans Bike Facilities
The city just surpassed 100 miles of bike facilities, which is great news for local riders. A decade ago, the city had only 11 miles of lanes, according to a 2014 report from the Regional Planning Commission.
A recent count of bicyclists at key locations found a significant increase in ridership over the past five years, especially where bike facilities have been added, according to the 201r report:
“[A]mong existing count sites, the number of bicyclists observed has increased by 52% at the 12 core count locations since 2010…. The most notable gains and highest observed volumes for bicycles have been on major arterial corridors that include dedicated bicycle facilities (i.e. bike lanes). Overall, estimated daily traffic at sites with dedicated bike lanes has increased by 125% over five years, compared to a 44% increase at all count locations combined, and only a 23% increase at locations that have no bicycle facilities at all.”
The report noted that “New Orleans is well on its way toward becoming a recognized regional and national leader in active transportation.” However, that goal will require a stronger commitment from the city itself. For instance, the city does not have a bike / ped coordinator, which means there’s no point person to coordinate with as many as 16 city agencies that touch on bike or ped issues in some way.
“There is lots of great stuff happening on the ground, but the city is not communicating that very well,” Favre says.
Bike Easy’s Projects and Advocacy Efforts
To fill that information gap, Bike Easy has been working to put together a “State of Cycling” report to ridership, facilities, and policy issues.
“We have a dedicated staff and volunteers that have pushed hard with passion and enthusiasm,” Favre says. “Our Board of directors meets once a month, and they are very engaged with subcommittees that work like mad. Also, we are working to form coalition with other groups, such as environmental or health organizations, that understand how walking or biking benefits their constituencies. And it’s been helpful that federal money is available for education work through the state DOT. That can include Safe Routes to School Grants or highway safety grants that allow us to do community workshops and training. That in turn builds up a base of engaged advocates.”
At the top of Favre’s list of biking necessities are safer bridge crossings.
“Because of the unique geography here, including the river, canals and levees, the bottlenecks and the danger spots are bridges over canals and bridges over or under the interstates,” Favre says. The bridges are key, and we are looking at one fix right now.”
One campaign, Connect the 9 : Fix the St. Claude Bridge!, is focused on a critical pedestrian and bike connector. “Improving the bridge infrastructure would improve access and increase equity for bikers, walkers, and transit riders,” the campaign states.
The group’s Safe Bridges Campaign grew out of that project. “After working on St. Claude Bridge safety, we realized that we needed to expand the campaign to include critical bridges, underpasses and overpasses to truly connect the bicycle network, according to the Bike Easy website.
Other Bike Easy advocacy projects include:
- Claiborne Corridor Ambassadors Program: This program recruits and trains “ambassadors” to identify transportation problems and develop solutions to promote walking, biking, transit, and livable streets in their neighborhoods.
- Stallings Gentilly Park - Weekly Ride!: Weekly Monday evening rides around Gentilly are intended to instill biking confidence and riding skills on neighborhood routes.
- Community Bicycle Workshops: Workshops promote bicycle safety and equip old and new riders alike with the resources and skills they need to bicycle.
- Walk & Roll to School Week: In May 2015, Bike Easy partnered with Tulane University’s Prevention Research Center on a family event to promote biking and walking to school. The group is also involved with Safe Routes to School Programs.
- Bike Light Bike Right Campaign: Bike Easy distributes bike lights to bicycle commuters at random locations throughout New Orleans during twilight hours.
- Youth Bicycle Ambassador Program: In Summer 2015, Bike Easy launched a summer leadership development and employment opportunity for young people age 16-24.
What to see and do by bike in New Orleans
Exploring New Orleans by bike is one of the best ways possible to see the city. Among the highlights:
- The 2.6-mile Lafitte Greenway, which opened in November 2015, transformed one of the city’s oldest rail lines into a multiuse transportation path and linear park. “This turned out to be a spine for the transportation network and can be used by people going to school or work or grocery stores,” Favre says. “A new park in a 300-year-old city is a cause for celebration in my mind.”
- Crescent Park, according to the city’s website, grants unparalleled views of the New Orleans skyline, Algiers, and the Mississippi River, creating an environment for locals and visitors alike to interact and enjoy new vantage points of New Orleans and recreational space along the riverfront.
- Neighborhood riding includes the famed French Quarter, as well as the arts-friendly Marigny and Bywater. All three are popular with tourists for their iconic New Orleans architecture as well as art shops, small streets, corner bars and neighborhood restaurants.
- City Park, with its botanical garden and antique carousel, is a favorite tourist attraction. The park features four miles of bike paths and take riders from Bayou St. John to Lake Pontchartrain. Bikes are available for rental.
- Wisner bike path first opened in 2008 as a 4.7 mile, north-south multiuse path, allowing cyclists to travel from Lake Pontchartrain to City Park without being in car traffic. Plans are in the works to extend it south to the Mississippi River, effectively creating a bike route from the French Quarter to Lake Pontchartrain.
Big Easy Pedicab Association recognizes Bike Law as their official legal resource for bike-related issues. BEPA is a social welfare non-profit member-based community organization that supports the local pedicab industry in New Orleans. Members receive a wide variety of benefits including: supplemental health insurance, retirement and financial planning, professional development, educational and or entrepreneurial loans, advertising and business development with local businesses, and charitable and philanthropic benefits and activities with the community.
If you would like Bike Law to come speak to your club or at your shop, please contact us.