There are a lot of changes happening in New Orleans and one of them includes Bike Lanes. Streets all over town are changing to include a smaller lane for bicyclist identified with a painted white bicycle. Now, many New Orleanians are taking to the streets on their bikes in these new lanes for a variety of reasons including commuting to work, exercise, and simply for fun. New lanes are found throughout City Park, Magazine Street and even in the French Quarter area. But, with all of these new bicycle drivers hitting the streets, there are precautions that need to be taken for both the driver of the bike and the car.
What is a Bike Lane?
A Bike Lane is “a portion of the roadway that has been designated for preferential or exclusive use by bicyclists with pavement markings and possibly, signs.” Click here for the New Orleans Department of Public Works site. The lane will be about 5 to 6 feet wide and is intended for bike traffic in the same direction as the adjacent motor vehicle lane. A Shared Lane is a lane of a traveled roadway that is open to both bicycle and motor vehicle travel. This lane is between 10 and 14 feet wide and is identified by a white bicycle to help both bicyclists and motorists have a higher level of guidance and awareness.
What are the rules for Bike Lanes?
There are a lot of rules for bicyclists when it comes to proper use of the Bike Lane. A bicycle that is used on the streets needs to be registered with a registration plate. Once this has been completed, the bicyclist can hit the road, but s/he must follow the same laws as a driver of a vehicle including obeying the instructions of official traffic control signals, signs, and other traffic control devices applicable to vehicles. However, there are a few exceptions such as a bicyclist should ride as near to the right-hand side of the roadway as practicable. In addition, if a person using a bike plans on riding at night, the bike needs be be equipped with a lamp and all bikes need to have a bell. Motor Vehicle drivers should not drive in the bike lane except to turn, leave the road or park. Both the driver of the vehicle and the bike have responsibilities to be aware of other drivers and to follow the rules of the road. If you are interested in learning more about these rules, click here for the New Orleans Traffic and Vehicles Article XII on Bicycles.
Be careful when operating your bike in a Bike Lane that is adjacent to a road. Know the rules, but also know that others may not know them or may not be paying attention. If you were injured in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of Frank D’Amico, Jr. at 504-525-7272 or Toll-Free: 866-70-FRANK (37865).