Lake Charles to become more bike-friendly - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Lake Charles to become more bike-friendly

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Samuel Owens commutes from the Garden District to L'auberge and back daily. It might seem like a simple drive, but it's not.

"I have to like haul butt over a bridge and I get nervous riding over it every day," Owens said.

Owens said drivers are not friendly to cyclists in Lake Charles and he's happy to hear talks of improvements.

"We're working on a project right now, which is the Nelson Road extension," said Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach. "Part of that extension includes a pedestrian bike path across the new bridge that's to be constructed across Contraband Bayou."

Planners also said adding signs and lines on existing roads is a quick way to make drivers aware of cyclists.

Owner of Dharma, Alyssa Dinataly, said she'd like to see bike racks before bike lanes.

"If they have a place to put their bikes then they'll stick around and go to different bars," said Dinataly. "We've been letting people now just come in and almost valet park their bikes inside."

Dharma also hosts "Two-Wheel Tuesday" to encourage more people to ride their bikes downtown. Cyclists get drink specials for riding a bike.

No matter what the city decides to do first, as it grows, a bike-friendly city is expected.

"We understand that this is important for the people who live here, but also for growth and development," said Roach.

Cyclists said the city does need to add more bike lanes, but they think real change will happen when more people start hopping on their bikes, and riding on the roads.

Owens said cyclists can make a difference right now.

"If you're afraid to ride a bike in the city, just do it because it's going to raise awareness," said Owens.

Planners said the Nelson Road extension is at the top of their list. They're also looking at bike lanes that would take cyclists from north Lake Charles to the southern part of the city.

There's no word when that will happen, or how much it will cost.

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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