[EDITOR's NOTE : The following letter was sent to Baton Rouge's mayoral candidates on October 6th, 2016. Responses to the letter will be published by on Bike Baton Rouge's website on October 21st, 2016. We encourage you to pass the letter below on to those candidates yourself - it is ALWAYS better to have more voices.]
In spite of Bike Baton Rouge's continuous work to ensure the safety of locals, Baton Rouge remains a largely hostile environment to bicyclists. The poor quality of Baton Rouge’s narrow roads makes it incredibly dangerous to ride a bike almost anywhere in the city. Additionally, drivers and bicyclists alike receive little to no education concerning safe practices on the road, which can prove fatal. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDCP) 2015 report, Louisiana ranks third-highest in bicycle-related deaths.
Increasing the conditions for safe bicycling in the city is not solely a matter of improving a recreational activity. Making safe bicycling more common could solve part of Baton Rouge’s traffic congestion problems; it could also provide a cheaper commute alternative. Furthermore, studies have shown that bicycle-friendly neighborhoods attract more economic development.
With the upcoming Mayoral elections, Bike Baton Rouge is committed to ensure that candidates are aware of the city’s lack of appropriate infrastructures and are dedicated to solve these serious issues during their term. To this effect, Bike Baton Rouge asks that all candidates answer the following questions so as to inform voters of their intentions concerning the health and safety of their constituents:
1) Are you aware of Baton Rouge’s increasing bicycling community and their demands for safer infrastructures?
2) What are your plans regarding the development of safer environments for bicyclists in the city?
3) Baton Rouge has had two bicycle master plans, one in 1974 and the other in 1996; neither were implemented. Will you and your team listen to the concerns of your constituents regarding bike safety and commit to a bicycle/pedestrian master plan? What would be the timeline for implementing this plan?
4) The position of Urban Transportation Coordinator has been left vacant since 2009 in spite of the fact that it is already budgeted for. When will you fill that essential position?
5) Bike Baton Rouge is committed to ensuring the safe access to bicycling on roads across the city. North Baton Rouge is home to most of the city’s bicycle commuters. What will you do to improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in North Baton Rouge?
Please send responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bike Baton Rouge is a 501c3 organization