Add your voice to the call for safe and equitable mobility options
As our community continues to process the horrific crash on Esplanade Ave that took two wonderful people from the world far too early, many people are reaching out to us here at Bike Easy asking the pressing question:
“What can I do to keep this from happening again?”
At the touching memorial ride and ghost bike dedication this weekend, the desire for change was palpable and expressed by many – from the families of those who were killed and friends who were injured in the crash to Councilmember Jason Williams and everyday folks who like to ride bikes. Our friend, Sophie, from Friends of Lafitte Greenway even managed to call for protected bike lanes from her hospital bed via Facetime.
It is the time for action.
The solutions on the table are not new, they are not simply a reaction. Advocates have been calling for them for years, the City has already been discussing them, and now, sadly, the need is clearer than ever.
There are many changes to be made. At Bike Easy, based on research, on-going work, and a desire for the biggest and fastest impact, we have chosen to prioritize the call for streets built to share and a citywide network of connected and protected bikeways. As simple as these common sense solutions may seem, they still meet tremendous and unnecessary controversy. We need you to join the call in support of safe bike infrastructure. Here are three ways you can get involved:
1. Sign our new petition and/or contact Mayor Cantrell and your Councilmembers directly. Let them know that along with keeping the people who ride safe, connected and protected bike networks benefit everyone, even those who never ride – from reduced congestion and pollution to improved public health, social equity, job access, and quality-of-life.
2. Come to the New Orleans City Council meeting this Thursday, March 14 at 10am to show your support for streets built to share that are safe for everyone, no matter how they choose to travel that day. Council President Jason Williams has put a presentation on bike safety and improved infrastructure (featuring the good folks who dedicate the ghost bikes and yours truly) at the top of the agenda. Come show the City Council and everyone at City Hall just how powerful this movement for safe streets really is! If you’ve never been to a meeting before, just head on down to City Hall (1300 Perdido St) and ask them to direct you to the Council Chambers. We’ll have someone there to show you how to submit a comment card.
3. Register to become a Complete Streets Ambassador and come to the kickoff training Sunday, March 24th from 1pm to 5pm. The City of New Orleans will soon be announcing a series of public meetings to inform a citywide bikeway network plan. To make it the best plan possible, Bike Easy, the Complete Streets Ambassadors, and other partners will be working to ensure the community is deeply engaged to create the best plan possible. And the more support we show during the planning phase, the faster the City will get to the building phase. On Sunday, March 24th, we’ll be going over all the details, sharing tips and skills to organize your neighbors, and setting out a plan of action for the coming months.
Finally, if advocacy isn’t your thing, and you prefer to focus on education, please register for and join the Smart Biking Class in early April to gain the skills you’ll need to be an effective volunteer with our education team. Once you’ve been through the course, you can help with outreach and activities to teach roadway safety to people who bike and to people who drive.
On a personal note – one action I’ve also been focused on is making sure to keep riding, to not let this horror sap the joy I feel when biking. It’s not easy, but it feels right, and it was amazing to ride with so many of you on Saturday.
To honor Sharree and David, and Frank, and every person who’s been hurt or killed while biking in Greater New Orleans, I’m more inspired than ever to work to make bicycling easy, safe, and fun for everyone. And in these tough times, I’ve been uplifted by just how much others feel the same. Thank you.