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dammit I am tired of the passive and the aggressive war on bicyclists in this city. way too many “No bike parking” signs, drivers driving in bike lanes without regard to anyone’s safety, (or almost as bad) driving JUST behind us out of eye sight as if we impede your driving lane. Scary to see how many drivers who cannot calculate safe distance on either side. Trucks using dedicated bike lanes for parking even when there is ample parking to pull into, thieves running amok with tools to cut even the best locks in less than a few minutes and entirely too many people immediately blaming the DEAD cyclist when an accident happens.The fact that the cyclist is often no longer among the living should tell you that an accident involving a car and anything human-powered is not a fair fight. What is really going in in many cases is the driver either “doesn’t see” the cyclist at all (which tells you about the level of distraction and road awareness among many drivers) or the driver felt the cyclist had no right to the road and encroached on their space, resulting in a tragedy for one side. And yes, I am also tired of the few cyclists I see who have a disdain for bicycle traditions, including communicating with savvy drivers when possible with hand signals, using eye contact and acknowledgement and ceding the road to pedestrians when necessary. I see those cyclists, but I do not believe they actually number as a significant number of us. In order to ride a bike for a long period, one has to believe in those rules and to honor them. And those few who disregard the rules are just that, few. They are just more visible to those looking for examples of bad cyclists.
There seems to be a belief that the “grown up world” is about owning an auto and bicycles are for the immature, the Peter Pans of the world. That the rights of car drivers extend to the ownership of the road and that their decisions should override every other conveyance, even while they using their car as a weapon or wreaking havoc on the streets because of the distractions they have added to their driving time. For those who believe in auto-only roads, I would be happy to cede the highways to you and to take back the city streets for pedestrians, for cyclists and for low-powered motor vehicles. I am sure we’d all be a lot safer.

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bicycle culture in New Orleans, circa 1880

(…and was as elitist as expected back then…)

New Orleans jumped onto the bandwagon, forming the New Orleans Bicycle Club (NOBC) in 1880. The NOBC’s evolution mirrored the changing times. Born first as a ‘gentleman’s club,’ they initially described themselves as “men of affairs of relatively high standing.” The less affluent were kept from membership by default, as they wouldn’t be likely to afford the expensive bicycles.

… Issues of race arose because the Northern cycling groups accepted applicants regardless of color, while the NOBC wasn’t ready to do that.

Cycling History on Baronne St, Embodied in New Orleans Bicycle Club 

Cyclists ticketed in French Quarter.

Puzzling the way that our NOPD is attacking lawlessness in the French Quarter. Crime is widespread by local accounts, and yet the main issue has become the ticketing of two-wheeled, human-powered indicators of a healthy city. No doubt we need education about what constitutes lawful cycling, but starting with tickets as the first line of communication seems unduly prescriptive.

That the diversity of use in the French Quarter is the reason for its vibrancy is the belief of this blog; therefore, we hope for some sanity to return to the 8th District by getting itself almost entirely on 2 wheels, talking and patrolling before ticketing anyone and maybe focusing more on activities that actually beget criminal behavior rather than those that actually may prevent it.
And help to reduce the friction between the wealthy and those who serve their needs.

WWL story

Anarcha story

Human-powered transportation updates

The French Quarter should lead the way for the entire city in bike safety, bike parking opportunities, pedi-cab activity and official business done on foot or by bike whenever possible. Can I get an amen?

From the French Quarter Business Association newsletter:

Cycling in the French Quarter

FQBA’s board was asked to support a survey studying bicycle usage and parking in the Quarter. All were in favor of supporting the efforts of The Metro Bicycle Coalition (MBC) in doing so. MBC is excited to announce this project aimed to measure the attitudes and beliefs of French Quarter business and property owners regarding bicycle parking in the Quarter.

NOPD Bicycle Unit

We are excited to announce that FQBA members have stepped up and helped the 8th district with their goal of ten (10) bicycles for officers in the French Quarter. We will formally announce the donors at a press event soon. Other districts are still in need of assistance please contact the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation for information on how you can help get NOPD officers on bicycles in your neighborhood.

Licensing Pedi-cabs
From time to time we have revisited the issue of pedi-cabs. The final word on licensing legal pedi-cabs for the City of New Orleans is that the City Council is reviewing the administration’s proposed policies and procedures as to how licenses will be approved. The administration proposed a lottery system, however, the city council’s transportation committee, chaired by District “C” Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, supports a merit-based system. The process was discussed at the city council’s transportation committee meeting on March 24th. The Transportation Committee’s changes to the procedures will be available April 1st on the city council’s website at http://www.nolacitycouncil.com. This matter will be discussed at the April 7th city council meeting.

FQBA is in favor of a merit-based system for issuing these pedi-cab permits and has corresponded accordingly with Councilmember Giselson Palmer’s office.