Grassroots effort to make safer cycling/pedestrian community

Grassroots effort hopes to change cycling/pedestrian community

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - New to cycling Michelle Horak knows first hand the dangers that come along with it.

"On my first day out I almost got hit. And on the second day out I had to lay my bike down in the middle of the street. The lady did stop but she didn't even roll her window down to ask if I was okay," said Horak.

Horak is not alone. Most of her fellow cyclists and runners share her concerns.

"The thing I fear the most is being hit by a car," said Alvin Midkiff.

"I used to work at Tri Running and would hear on a daily basis from cyclists and runners about the dangers of being hit. It's a growing problem that needs to be addressed," said Tiffany Davis.

Joining forces they have formed Pedestrians and Cyclists of Calcasieu (PCC) - an advocacy group determined to bring about change.

"We would like to see more bike paths for one. Bike lanes on major streets. We would like the general culture of the are to be more aware of cyclists and pedestrians. We would like to see a lot of things we are already seeing in downtown," said Davis.

With the construction of the Ryan Streetscape the City of Lake Charles has not only made way for wider sidewalks but has installed several bike railings along the street. Cyclists said it is a good start.

The PCC has their eyes set far beyond the boundaries of downtown Lake Charles. The goal is a safer community parish-wide. According to them if other areas of the country can do it - so can Calcasieu Parish.

"I think that we can bring some ideas to the civic leaders and politicians in the area so that when they have these infrastructure projects that they will keep these things in mind and perhaps make it happen," said Midkiff.

With city and parish leaders on board Horak believes the biggest challenge will be changing the attitudes of motorists.

"This needs to start when you're in elementary. It's just common courtesy and people are not... It's like they don't have that any longer," said Horak.

The group plans to have a regular meeting every third Thursday of the month. Their next meeting is July 16th at the Porch Coffee House at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile for more information on Pedestrians and Cyclists of Calcasieu click here. 

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