New Orleans has started to build out an extensive bicycle lane network throughout the city. While these bicycle lanes will help protect bicyclists from collisions with motor vehicles, anytime bicyclists are riding in close proximity to cars and trucks, there is an obvious risk of harm to the bicyclist. Even when bike lanes are present, accidents resulting from other vehicles invading bike lanes are not uncommon.
Louisiana law states “every person riding a bicycle upon a highway of this state shall be granted all the rights and shall be subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.” In other words, bicyclists must abide by the same rules of the road as motor vehicle drivers, but are also protected by those same rules. In most cases, motor vehicle drivers are required to abide by the same regulations regarding issues such as right of way, tailgating, etc., for bicyclists as they are required to follow when dealing with other motor vehicles.
Additionally, Louisiana is one of several states that has adopted a “three feet law” to further protect bicyclists from personal injury. This law requires motor vehicles to maintain a distance of at least three feet from a bicycle when approaching or passing a cyclist. While violating this regulation only results in a fine, a finding that the motorist had violated the law may also be helpful if the cyclist was injured and has to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
If you have suffered a personal injury while bicycling and have additional questions, please let us answer them. We can be reached at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.