The City of Baton Rouge is known as a focus city by the Federal Highway Administration. What does that mean? It means that the city has a high number of fatal pedestrian and bike crashes that affect the people who live there.
In response to being found as a focus city in the mid-2000s, the Bike and Pedestrian Emphasis Area Action Plan was put into place. At the last update in 2018, a regional Pedestrian Bicycle Safety Plan, a plan to span 10 to 20 years, was in process. This plan will focus on improving infrastructure based on an analysis of crash and fatality data.
Another part of the comprehensive approach to reducing the risk of bicyclists and pedestrians is to prioritize locations where there is a demand for road safety audits and assessments. Identifying particular safety issues will then allow the city to implement countermeasures. This is also in progress as of the 2018 report.
Planning is in progress, but there is still a danger to cyclists and pedestrians in Baton Rouge
Unfortunately, despite the plan being in progress, there are still people being put at risk every day. In a 2019 report, it was shown that 93 people had been killed while cycling since 2015, and 11 of those crashes happened in East Baton Rouge Parish. These numbers make Louisiana the second worse state for cyclist fatalities.
What can you do to stay safe?
Since there are changes being made but they are not yet in place, you do need to be cautious on the roads. If you will be riding your bike, consider riding with others and make sure to wear a helmet in case you are hit. Wearing a helmet may help you reduce the risk of a fatal head injury in a collision.
You can also consider traveling in a group if you’ll be walking as a pedestrian. Wear brighter colors and be aware of the traffic around you. If the area is particularly busy and you can take a less busy route, consider doing so to put more space between yourself and potentially dangerous drivers.
If you do get hit, you have a right to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. Their actions have consequences, and you can ask that they cover your losses.