Cyclists vs Cars



Cyclists prostrate themselves in front of City Hall as part of a die-in protest on July 23. This protest was part of a call for bicycle-friendly laws and infrastructure in the city of New Orleans and an overall awareness of cyclists' rights on the road.

Gabriel Garza, Worldview Editor

While some students like to take leisurely bike rides to school, students such as Wil Hernandez, marketing junior, have had his brakes put to the test after being hit 12 times by cars.

“Two years ago, heading down a dark street, a car hit the back of my bike, sent me flying over my handlebars and kept going. I was covered in blood and had to make my way back to Carrollton Hall. I was in pain for a few days but I never found out who hit me,” Hernandez said.

In 2015, LUPD has registered 175 bikes on Loyola’s campus. That is only one more than last year’s number of 174 in 2014. In 2013, the amount of registered bikes on campus was 222.

Monwell Frazier, psychology senior, is a commuter from the Freret and General Pershing area to campus. Frazier said he remembers hitting a motorcyclist while driving on a Sunday night to the Opera house.

“There was a group of motorcyclists and they were weaving in and out of traffic at full speed. The guy in front of me slammed his breaks, I tried to slam mine, but I didn’t see him in time. I saw him fly 20 feet forward and I couldn’t believe it. I was crying once I saw him lying on the ground for 20 minutes,” said Frazier. “Luckily a doctor and a nurse came out of nowhere to help. I was really lucky he didn’t press any charges”.

Charles Schully, law student at Tulane, created a Facebook group called Bike Uneasy after his girlfriend was hit by a car while biking in the Uptown area. The group is used as a forum for capturing bad drivers who endanger bikers’ rights and safety.

Schully said his intention of creating the group was to bring attention to incidents of hit-and-runs in the Uptown area.

“I realize that I could help other bikers in the city by showing people how to report stuff and remind them to keep an eye out for drivers. If bikers make mistakes, bikers get hit. If cars make mistakes then bikers get hit. Either way, the results always end up the same,” Schully said.

Caitlin Page, history senior, said as a commuter from the West Bank, she finds that cyclists are a problem on the road.

“They swerve around cars without turning signals. A lot of people at night do not wear any reflective lights on, so you can hardly see them. They need to be respectful of cars because biking in the middle of the street does nothing but get drivers angry and makes bikers probably nervous as well,” Page said. “If they want to be treated as a car, then they need to act like a car.”

According to the Louisiana Revised Statue, it is a crime to pass bikers on the road with less than three feet of room, and it also criminalizes throwing objects out of the windows at bikers. Bikers are allowed to use the same non-interstate roads as vehicles.

Hernandez said that there needs to be more enforcement, as far as penalties go, for drivers who don’t respect the laws in place. He encouraged drivers to be aware of bikers out on the street.

“Drivers, be patient, we are just as important as you are. We are in a rush as well and have places to be just like you. Unfortunately, we are in a 50 pound bicycle going against a two ton vehicle,” Hernandez said.