POSTED: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 6:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 6:04am
Baton Rouge, La — In recognition of the upcoming Baton Rouge Bike to Work Week, which runs from April 15-19, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office will take part in several bike-related activities to raise awareness of bike laws, safety and health benefits, announced Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.
Louisiana Department of Justice employees will join other groups participating in the Baton Rouge Bike to Work Week. Organizers of the Baton Rouge event have planned group rides throughout the week culminating in two large group rides from Goodwood Park and City Park on the morning of Friday, April 19.
Bike to Work Days highlight the health, economic and environmental benefits for those who participate and are held nationwide to encourage employees to ride a bicycle to work instead of driving a car. On a local level, Bike to Work Days create awareness about the importance of bicycle riding in the community.
The Attorney General’s Office has created an educational campaign to raise awareness of bike laws while promoting bike safety and highlighting the health benefits. The Attorney General’s Office will also be installing a commercial bike rack to encourage bike riding and to better accommodate its employees and visitors who choose to ride bicycles instead of driving.
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell wants citizens to know about various benefits of bicycle riding while keeping in mind the following bicycle safety tips and laws.
Economic, Environmental and Health Benefits
• Bicycle commuting saves money on parking fees, fuel costs, automobile maintenance costs and transit fares.
• Short trips in motor vehicles are three times more polluting per mile than long trips.
• Bike riding improves mental health and cardiovascular fitness.
• Bike riding can increase cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and muscle strength.
• Bike riding can improve posture, coordination, joint mobility and strengthen bones.
• Bicycle commuting is an easy way to fit exercise into a busy schedule.
• Bikes are vehicles: Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers (R.S. 32:194).
• Follow the rules of the road: Bicyclists are to obey all traffic laws, signs and lights as if they were driving a car (R.S. 32: 232; 123).
• Keep to the right: Bicycle drivers are to ride on the right side of the road and in the same direction as traffic, never against it (R.S. 32: 197).
• Two’s the limit: Bicyclists can be no more than two wide on streets (R.S. 32: 197).
• Room for one: Only one person per seat is allowed on a bicycle (R.S. 32: 195).
• Bikes aren’t unicycles: Bicycle drivers must keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times (R.S. 32: 195).
• Shine bright: Cyclists must use bike lights and reflectors at night (white for the front, red for the back) that shine light visible from at least 500 feet (RS: 32:329.1).
• Give the right of way: Cyclists should yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic (R.S. 32:124).
• Be seen: Stay far enough ahead or far enough behind motorists to be visible.
• Hand gestures encouraged: Use hand signals when turning and stopping (R.S. 32:106).
• Get on the road: Bicycle riding on the sidewalk is illegal in East Baton Rouge Parish (Municipal Code Title 11: Chapter 20: Sec. 11:230).
• Protect their heads: Children under the age of 12 must wear a helmet while on a bicycle (R.S. 32: 199). Helmet usage is also encouraged for everyone else.
• Keep our children safe: Children who weigh less than 40 pounds or are less than 40 inches tall must use a restraining seat (R.S. 32: 199).
Motor Vehicle Operators
• Be safe and courteous: Cars must maintain at least three feet from bicycles when passing (R.S. 32: 76.1).
• Be aware: Check for bicyclists before opening vehicle doors (R.S. 32:283).
• Stay in your lane: Motorists have their own lanes. If a driver has to enter a bike lane he or she must yield to the cyclists. Entering a bike lane is only permissible under three conditions:
1. A driver is preparing to turn at an intersection.
2. A driver is entering or leaving a roadway to a private roadway or alley.
3. A driver is entering or leaving a street parking space.