New Orleans officials have announced they will begin enforcing a $300 fine for blocking bike lanes by the end of April. Currently the fine is only $40 dollars for parking in a bike lane but the city has increased the cost of the fine as part of its plan to improve bike safety in New Orleans. When vehicles are parked blocking bike lanes, it forces cyclists to leave the protection of the designated bike lane and risk their safety by entering the traffic lanes to go around the violating vehicle.
Officials have stated this is only the beginning as they intend to announce a bike safety master plan by the end of the summer. While New Orleans is working on plans to improve city streets for biking, cyclists can take the following steps to ensure their own safety on New Orleans’s busy streets, littered with distracted drivers.
- Do not bike distracted – avoid wearing earbuds or talking on the phone while cycling.
- Stay alert to the traffic around you, especially when crossing intersections.
- When approaching intersections, look out for cars turning in front of you. Distracted drivers may not see you approaching from behind them.
- Ride with the flow of traffic.