PRESS RELEASE : Mayoral candidates comment on bicycling in Baton Rouge


10/21/16, Baton Rouge, LA

Sharon Weston Broome, Denise Marcelle, Greg LaFleur, Bodi White, and Darryl Gissel’s responses to a five question survey of Baton Rouge’s mayoral candidates facilitated by local bike advocacy organization Bike Baton Rouge were published on Friday morning on the Bike Baton Rouge website at bikebr.org/election2016
The responses highlight each candidate’s position on bicycle infrastructure and safety in Baton Rouge as well as their previous involvement in improving bicycling conditions in Baton Rouge. Responses from eight metro council candidates were also included.
"As Baton Rouge's bicycle advocacy organization we felt it was our responsibility to make sure each candidate had the opportunity to communicate their position on bicycling issues to our members as well as the general public," said Mika Torkkola, president of Bike Baton Rouge. "And we think the responses do a great job in highlighting what each respondent will be willing to do to make Baton Rouge a better place to ride a bicycle."
Candidates were contacted starting October 6, 2016 via email and social media and had until October 20 to respond. Torkkola says that while not every candidate responded to their request, those who did offered genuine and thoughtful comments.
Those candidates who did not respond can still do so by contacting Bike Baton Rouge. Their answers will be added to the list once they are submitted. 

Mika Torkkola
225 571 2906

Bike Baton Rouge is a local non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization and has been dedicated to making bicycling trips in Baton Rouge safer and more enjoyable since 2006.

Open letter to Baton Rouge's Mayoral Candidates

[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 bikebatonrouge@gmail.com

Bike Baton Rouge is a 501c3 organization