Life just got a lot harder for cyclists in West Feliciana Parish. A new ordinance issued by the Parish council sets restrictions on how and where bicycles can be used on roads maintained by the Parish, with hefty fines awaiting violators.
The board of directors of the Baton Rouge Bike Club has issued a statement expressing their disappointment with the ordinance, which they call unsafe and unfair.
New rules call for every bicycle ridden on Parish roads to be equipped with front and rear lights, which must be visible from a half-mile distance in daylight. Additionally, riders must wear brightly colored clothing composed of more than 50% fluorescent material above the waist, and are restricted to riding single-file in groups of fewer than 10.
View this post on Instagram
The new regulations, enacted to address cycling-related complaints within the community, also restrict the use of bikes to within two feet of the edge of paved roads, except when passing.
In their statement, the Bike Club claims that the rule could endanger riders, and makes no consideration for obstacles such as potholes or trash. Current state law only requires that riders, “ride to the right side of the road as far as practicable, except when passing, to avoid an obstacle, or when the lane width is substandard.”
Failure to comply with any of the rules laid out in the ordinance could net fines in excess of $100 per violation.
The Baton Rouge Bike Club has announced that they will stop scheduling organized rides and events in West Feliciana until the regulations are changed.
“We don’t ask that our members stop riding on West Feliciana Parish roads, but be aware of the new rules, where they apply, and potential consequences for violation,” the club’s board explained in their statement.
The board is also organizing a boycott of West Feliciana Parish businesses in the hope that the loss of tourism dollars will lead to change.
Read BRBC’s full statement here.