Local cyclists concerned after Nathaniel Crowson's death, say they have rights as well

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Monday, January 23, 2012 - 8:51pm

When Tom Clement heard about Nathaniel Crowson's death, he just had a feeling it was someone he's rode with before.

“My immediate thought is its one of us. I know him,” states Clement. “There's only 3,000 of us out there riding our bikes.”

The new president of the Baton Rouge Bicycle Club says there have been too many accidents like Crowson’s.

“All told, in the southeast part of the state, we've probably had 10 to 12 bikers killed in the last two years.”

Part of the problem is that Baton Rouge just isn't biker friendly. Clement says on a national list, the city rates near the bottom.

“It’s not good enough. We have a long way to go. No matter how much you ride, no matter how safe you think it is, it's always in the back of your mind.”

A bigger issue, however, is the lack of respect for cyclists.

“We've had beer cans thrown at us. We've had some trucks buzz you can see how close they get to you without getting hit. They don't have respect for each other in automobiles, and we are just a small bicycle.”

Clement knows first-hand all about that.

“I had a motorist try to intimidate the five of us riding and came within inches of me. Then he turned around, cut me off, and tried to run over me.”

Now, his goal is to raise awareness, hoping a little bit of education can slowly start to save cyclists lives.

“The reason it’s called a road bike is because we're not allowed and can actually be ticketed for riding this bike on the sidewalk. We need to somehow of getting our message out to the motorists that we have rights too.”

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