Friends mourn bicyclist killed; call for safety

Sunday, January 22, 2012 - 8:02pm

A man was killed on Perkins Road while riding his bicycle Saturday. Baton Rouge police said he was hit by a man suspected of driving while intoxicated. Now his friends, and other bicycle enthusiasts, are pushing city leaders for more safety.

"How many people have to die," said Mark Martin, "before they start doing what they know they need to do."

Raw emotion directs Martin's anger to local officials, after hearing about the death of his friend and fellow bike rider, Nathaniel Crowson.

"There are places in town, where if you want to get around, you have to be in the street," Martin said.

Martin said his group, Baton Rouge Advocates for Safe Streets, submitted plans for a low-cost, safe alternative for bike riders, that ultimately fell on deaf ears.

"We've submitted a plan route that goes from the levee to Bluebonnet," Martin said. "At a minimum cost. Doesn't cost much at all. Why not do it?"

Feelings are the same for other bicyclists who had no connection to Saturday's victim.

"It shows a lack of respect that the road system and the infrastructure of the city has for other modes of transportation," said bicyclist Ross Guberman.

"Riders are constantly in danger from other drivers," said Dan Hayes. "Not a lot of understanding of road sharing."

Bike enthusiasts said creating bike lanes, and promoting alternate modes of transportation would save lives and also benefit the overall population by promoting a more active community.

One man interviewed said he's in the middle of a cross-country biking tour. He rated Baton Rouge as very low on the biker-friendly cities he's seen in his travels.

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