Shocking video sparks debate among local cyclists - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Shocking video sparks debate among local cyclists

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Here in Lake Charles, the infrastructure isn't exactly bike-friendly at the moment, and many wonder what a cyclist can do.

Local cyclists I spoke with say the debate over a recent incident in Tennessee, in which a driver struck a cyclist and kept going, has created an opportunity to go over the rules of the road.

Fortunately the cyclist escaped with non-life-threatening injuries and the driver has been apprehended, but many local cyclists like Alain Newman are appalled at what they saw.

“From what I saw this was a conscious effort for someone to say, ‘I'm going to show him’ and when a bike and a vehicle meet, that bike loses,” said Newman. “If he would have killed him, that would have been murder to me. I'm not an attorney, but that's the way I feel about it.”

Newman is a part of many cycling groups in the area and says luckily, they don't see much of this anger in Lake Charles, but there are still issues.

“Things were better for us when we started talking about the three-foot rule, but I think it’s time that maybe we talk a little bit further and let people know we are not breaking the law,” said Newman.

He's talking about the Colin Goodier Protection Act, which requires drivers to allow at least three feet while passing a bike.

He's also talking about the issue of having two riders side by side on the roadway. Technically in Lake Charles, that's okay to do.

“If you're in a group of people sometimes, to make it a lane of two people, it makes it a shorter distance for the person to get around,” said Newman.

Cyclists are considered vehicles in the state of Louisiana and have rights and rules to abide by as well.

Charles McAdon, the general manager of Southern Bicycle Company, says there are some other challenges to that...like new riders who may not know the rules.

“If traffic comes up on them, it kind of makes them nervous,” said McAdon. “They might do something that the driver in the car may think is inappropriate because they might not know proper bike etiquette and they might not know to use turn signals.”

McAdon says that information can be readily available around the area. His store offers safety classes occasionally.

He also cites problems with non-bike-friendly infrastructure, which will be seeing some changes soon due to local initiatives like Complete Streets.

Click HERE to learn about Complete Streets.

Do you know the rules of the road? Click HERE to take the quiz. 

For a look at the state laws that apply to cyclists, click on the following links:

Operation of Bicycles

Traffic Laws

Riding on Bicycles

Clinging to Vehicles

Riding on Roadways

Helmets and Restraining Seats

For state laws that apply to drivers, click on the following links:

Motor Vehicles in Bicycle Lanes

Harassment of Cyclists

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