Bike safety gets attention during City Council committee meeting

Council Transportation Committee discusses bike safety

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As crews put stripes on new bike lanes on the Broad Street overpass at I-10, discussions on bike safety were underway inside New Orleans City Hall.

"I’m here as a survivor of the Esplanade crash,” said Gabrielle Alicino as she addressed council members.

Earlier this month, police said a drunk driver who was travelling at a high rate of speed veered into a bike lane on Esplanade Avenue.

Two people were killed and seven were injured.

"Good infrastructure, it benefits everybody, and good infrastructure is intuitive, so for drivers, they don't have to wonder where they're supposed to be driving,” said Alicino.

City leaders say months before the deadly crash happened, they were working on bike safety initiatives.

"We are putting this information not into just planning, not into just talking about it, but to actually build safe bike infrastructure and to enforce the laws related to it,” said Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Infrastructure Ramsey Green.

"Traffic accidents, we take that seriously, pedestrian safety and bicycle safety as well is something we take very, very seriously,” said Deputy NOPD Supt. Paul Noel.

The topic involved hours of questions and answers during the meeting of the council’s Transportation Committee.

Noel said NOPD officers are being trained in bike safety.

"One example of that is on April 16, some of our police officers are going to undergo a one-day training where they'll spend half the day in a classroom learning about traffic engineering and about enforcing bicycle laws, the other half of that class they're actually going to get on a bike to actually ride around throughout the city,” Noel stated.

"No one wants to be that person that hits someone, you got to live with that the rest of your life,” added Councilman Jason Williams.

The head of a local bike safety advocacy group also addressed the council members.

"To get that good bike infrastructure we need to create, you know, connected and protected networks of some bikeways, so that it’s clear, the space is organized clearly for everyone, no matter if you’re walking, driving, or biking,” said Dan Favre, Executive Director of Bike Easy.

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