Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bicycles and safe driving


Three people have been injured in Bossier, one of them fatally, in just over a month after being hit by motor vehicles.
Bart Patten was hit near Willow Chute at the end of April. He was in a coma for nearly three weeks, but is slowly recovering.
Last week, 18 year old Kevin Mouser was hit in the 4300 block of Barksdale Boulevard. He passed away two days later.
Today a bicyclist in the 3300 block of East Texas Street suffered what is being described as non life threatening injuries after being hit by a truck.
Without addressing the particulars of these three cases, suffice it to say that everyone should be very aware of the roadway when they are driving. A bicycle has as much right on the road as a motor vehicle.
If you would like to read the law applying to bicyclists in Louisiana, you can find it here. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, perhaps it will help to post these two paragraphs:

  • Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway of this state shall be granted all the rights and shall be subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.
  • The operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall exercise due care while the motor vehicle is passing the bicycle and shall leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle. An operator of a motor vehicle may pass a bicycle traveling in the same direction in a no-passing zone only when it is safe to do so.

Our sympathies go out to the people who were hit and their families, and particularly to the family of Kevin Mouser.
Everyone please slow down and be aware of what is on the road in front of you. Lives will be saved if you do.

19 comments:

  1. I hate to hear about this and Bart is a friend but I have to ask, why do they all have to ride in the heavy traffic areas?
    Yes I know the law says they can, but crap isnt this common sense. They are not riding to go to work for goodness sake and dont we have a paved parkway or how about going to bodcau.
    Sorry I just dont get it.

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  2. They probably think people are paying attention when they drive.

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  3. Bicyclist also have to take some resonablity for their own safety. In Kevin's case, he was riding at night down the middle of a dark, busy road with no lights and no reflective clothing. In fact he was wearing a black shirt and dark shorts. And no helmet.

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  5. I know that what you posted is the current law, but it needs to be changed. City streets are one thing, but it is utterly stupid to mix motor vehicles with bicycles on any sort of highway or thoroughfare. It should be simple enough to understand--you fly airplanes in the air, you run trains on the railroad, you drive cars and trucks on the highway, you ride horses on the equestrian trails, you walk on hiking trails, and you ride bicycles on bike paths. With big tall red flags, lights at night, and proper safety gear, I see nothing wrong with bicycles being used on local streets with speed limits of 25 mph or less. But those who make the laws should have used some common sense many years ago and changed the law that you quoted.

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  6. One problem there...Bossier doesn't have bike paths. If. Issuer had bike paths then I'm sure they would be used. I myself am a cyclist and do it for fitness. I pay attention at all times but sometimes that's not enough. Just the other day I was riding on a "local street" and a moron in a lexus decided that he didn't want to wait for the on coming jeep to pass by so he passed me and almost missed hit cause he didn't want to wait. I was on the side of the road and on a local street and almost got hit. Cyclists aren't going anywhere cause we have rights to the road as well. Maybe I will organize a huge bike ride everyday of like 20 people and and ride down e Texas. Come on now, until this govt outlaws cycling and motorcycles please pay attention

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    1. Almost hit me not almost missed hit me

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  7. Bicyclist anon @9:26 - It is your arrogance, which seems typical of too many bicyclists, that makes drivers angry. A little courtesy instead of arrogance could help your cause, but after your threat to clog up Texas Street, I doubt it. You have only made things worse by showing us the true nature of the bicyclist. I have always been very cautious around bicyclists and motorcyclists because, having worked in hospitals, I have seen the damage they can suffer when they are in accidents. I have patiently driven less than 10 mph until I could very safely pass bicyclists, only to have them drive BETWEEN cars at the stop signs to get ahead, meaning I then had to go through the whole ritual again. Many times they don't even stop at stop signs. This is a common occurrence around here. This is also a disregard for the law, and you are required by law to follow the same rules cars have to follow. Once I left quite a few car lengths between me and a bicyclist who then fell in front of me. Even at a very slow speed I had to swerve off the road to keep from hitting him, and doing so got me stuck in a ditch. My only choices to make in a split second were to run over the man, run into the cars in the opposite lane, hit a tree, or land in the ditch. Two truck drivers helped me out. The moron on the bike was back to screwing up traffic with no thought for any one else - and while others were running to my aid, he didn't even bother to see if I was OK. If you want respect as a bicyclist, then don't act like a jerk, and have some common sense. Accidents between cars happen all the time, but what may be a mere fender bender for the cars will have serious consequences for the bicyclist. That is a risk bicyclist take and must face up to. Don't ride on the busiest roads in town at the busiest times, especially when they have no shoulders. If you want to exercise, take the bike to a safer place and ride there. You talk of your rights to the road; I pay for my rights to the road, and the right to drive the legal speed limit (unless there's a good reason not to), by paying for driver's licenses and tags each year. Do you have to pay for a bicyclist's license and tag each year? I feel incredibly sorry for the family of the boy who died; that is a tremendous heartbreak for them, and I know their grief is too deep for words. My prayers are with them.I also feel sorry for the drivers who have hit these bicyclists, and my prayers are with them, too. No one wants to cause this kind of pain and suffering. No one.

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  8. Wow that was incredibly rude....I didn't attack anybody as a driver because I am a driver as well and I do pay for all that stuff you pay for. As for the "threat" to clog up the road...if your not smart enough to understand that was just words then I feel sorry for you. Clogging up the road is illegal for both cars and bikes. And just to clarify I know the traffic laws as I used to write tickets myself for law breakers. Bicycles have been around a lot longer then cars and will more than likely becoming back given gas prices. But anyway you have a very nice day and be sure to pay attention for us individuals that want to exercise

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  9. Hahana, First World problems, indeed.

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  10. Right or wrong, a car vs. a bicycle, car wins every time. So mr. Bicycle guy keep riding your bicycle on busy roads. You lose your life or limbs and the driver may or may not get a ticket. Drivers today have too many distractions inside the vehicle. Due to this reason I won't even own a motorcycle. Use common sense like the other posters recommended.

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  11. Just for the record my friends, I only ride in my neighborhood and connecting neighborhood because I do agree its dangerous and I have never been on e Texas like that. Texting and driving drunk driving etc etc etc are dangerous. I was merely expressing my concern and wish that drivers pay attention to all 2 wheels cause my dad rides a motorcycle as well.

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    1. In closing....I hope everybody is careful on the streets cause I want you to get home safely to see your lived ones.

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  12. I apologize for being rude. But no one is a perfect driver and even the most conscientious person can make a mistake. In the end, it doesn't matter what the state law is, the laws of physics don't care. My grandfather was killed while riding his bicycle, and it doesn't matter who was right or wrong, he's still dead.

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  13. We have to try to live with the laws that we have, rather than the laws we need, so everybody should drive slow and watch for those riding the bicycles on the roadway. In the meantime, the legislature needs to do something about this foolish situation.

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  14. a few thoughts from someone who regularly rides 100-200 miles a week:

    a) it might be helpful to distinguish between types of cyclists. folks like myself, who ride regularly for fun and exercise, generally stick to low traffic areas, ride in a predictable manner, and have visible clothing and even lights. there are also thousands of people for whom the bike is their primary mode of transportation. unfortunately, most do not follow safe riding practices. i.e., these are the people you see (or don't) riding in the dark with no lights on the wrong side of the road. educating this latter group would go a long way to reducing the number of accidents.

    b) as for legislation banning bikes from highways, i am aware of the risks involved in this sport. i could ride on sidewalks and bike paths, but those are for walkers, runners and kids. to achieve the speeds and distances i desire, i have to ride on the roads. last sunday, for instance, several of us rode over 80 miles at speeds around 20 mph. can't do that on the bike path. i understand that puts me at risk, but i have weighed the risks and decided it is worth it. i do not need some busybody legislator making my decision for me.

    c) whenever i have had a close encounter with a car, it is almost always because the driver was not paying attention. the most typical is for a car to roll through a stop sign or pull out of a driveway without looking both ways. yes, some drivers are rude. i have been yelled at, honked at, cursed and insulted in all kinds of ways. but as a friend of mine says, when drivers are yelling at you, at least you know they see you.

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  15. There are two types of laws; laws of man and laws of nature. The laws of man say that 150lb bicycles may use the same roadway as a 3,000lb motor vehicle. The laws of nature says that this is not a good idea. Usually, the laws of nature win out over the laws of man.

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  16. There are two types of laws; laws of man and laws of nature. The laws of man say that 150lb bicycles may use the same roadway as a 3,000lb motor vehicle. The laws of nature says that this is not a good idea. Usually, the laws of nature win out over the laws of man.

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