Friends of cyclist hit and killed in Sulphur disagree with investigation

Cross to memorialize J.J Brooks
Cross to memorialize J.J Brooks
Updated: Apr. 16, 2018 at 6:46 PM CDT
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SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - Close friends of the cyclist hit and killed last week on Highway 90 in Sulphur spoke with 7News today.

34 year old J.J. Brooks was riding his bike at night, and was struck from behind.

State police say its preliminary investigation revealed the driver was not at fault and the cyclist was violating state law. Brooks' friends disagree.

"Me and my fiancé, Crystal, he called us 'mom and dad'," said Michael Trahan. "It's really taking a toll on us, but I know he's not suffering no more he's in a better place than we are, and I thank God for taking him up there. He's with his mom now he's good."

Michael Trahan says J.J. Brooks lived with him for 2 years and left his house the night of the accident to go to the corner store, just down the road.

He never came back.

At the time of the crash, investigators say Brooks did not have proper lighting on his bicycle.

"The only thing he didn't have was a little blinking red light, but as far as reflectors, he had every reflector and he always wore a little light on his cap," said Trahan.

Sergeant James Anderson with the State Police says that is a violation of state law.

"It appears at this point, at the time of the crash the cyclist did not have a light on the back of the bike which is required by state law," said Anderson.

"The law said that he was considered a vehicle, if you're considered a vehicle you have just as much rights on the highway as a car, even though you're on a bicycle," said Trahan.

That's true. Bicycles are considered vehicles in the eyes of the law.

But there's another rule Sgt. Anderson brings up.

"State law requires you to ride as close to the shoulder as possible," said Anderson. "In this case, it appears he was riding closer to the center line than the side of the highway."

"There's always somebody riding a bicycle on the road," said Trahan. "If you don't have no shoulder to ride on, where are you supposed to ride?"

It's a topic that's been heavily discussed lately, especially by John O'Donnell, the Coalition Leader for a Healthier SWLA.

"Since WWII, we have adopted a transportation development pattern where we design roadways to move cars as fast as possible," said O'Donnell. "Through that process, we've forgotten about other types of transportation and as a result, in America, you are 7.2% more likely to die as a cyclist or a pedestrian on a roadway than in a natural disaster."

O'Donnell says you should always have active lights on your bike (in the front and the rear), wear bright fluorescent clothing, and also have a helmet on.

Click HERE for more on bike safety.

Click HERE for Louisiana bike laws.

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