LSU AgCenter physical activity specialist
(10/19/20) October is National Pedestrian Safety Month. The LSU AgCenter offers these tips for people interested in active forms of transportation, such as walking and biking:
Choose your route carefully. The best route to walk or bike is usually not the same route you would drive. Look for low-traffic residential streets. Remember, according to state law, bikes can use the full lane. If you are on a street where it would be dangerous for a vehicle to pass, bike in the middle of the lane. Ask others in your community which roads are the best for biking and walking, and learn from their experience.
“Infrastructure often varies significantly across roadways,” said Charlie Thomas, of Bike Law Louisiana. “Choose the lowest-stress route that serves your destination. The more enjoyable your commute by biking or walking, the more likely you will be to stick with this active and healthy option to get to where you’re going.”
Build for all people. Ultimately, bike and pedestrian safety comes down to building roads and paths that keep everyone safe.
“Streets built to share benefit everyone from safety and equity to economy and quality of life,” said Dan Favre, of Bike Easy. “When streets are designed to be safe for people walking, biking and rolling in wheelchairs, they are safer for people driving as well.”
Speak out to support road infrastructure for all people, especially for parts of your community where people rely on biking, walking and wheelchairs for transportation. If your parish has an LSU AgCenter Healthy Communities coalition, consider joining to work with others to get infrastructure improvements in place.
“Get involved with local street and highway projects,” said Mark Martin, of Bike Baton Rouge. “Almost all agencies are required to hold public input meetings. Go to the meetings. Tell the agency representatives what you would like to see. If you can't attend, try to make comments through the online resources. We are the ones with the deep local knowledge needed to create streets that serve all members of the community, not just one segment.”
A Complete Streets demonstration project completed in Madison Parish in 2017 illustrates simple maintenance improvements that could enhance walkability near a popular shopping center. LSU AgCenter photo
Assumption Community Hospital employees take advantage of the new walking path on the hospital’s grounds in 2019. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture