A grassroots movement to make it safer and friendlier to ride a bike in the Lake Area is picking up steam.
Locals heard from Please Be Kind to Cyclists organizers from Austin, Texas. They hope the exchange of ideas is just the beginning.
Most avid cyclists in the area have horror stories to share about injuries or near misses while trying to share the road with vehicles.
"I had to lay my bike down in the middle of the intersection so that the woman didn't hit me. Not only did she not roll down her window, stop, ask me if I was okay, but neither did the seven cars behind her," said Michelle Horak of Lake Charles.
Craig Myers of Lake Charles has been a cyclist for three decades: "I've seen the ER one too many times, and I've been operated on too many times. So, I attended partially because I'm a cycling advocate, and I'd like to see the city safer."
Please Be Kind to Cyclists founder Al Bastidas from Austin accepted an invititation to speak in Lake Charles, hoping to spread public awareness and make it safer everywhere.
"What if that cyclist or that person riding a bicycle in front of you is your grandkid, is your son, is your husband. How would you drive? To me that changes, puts a different perspective. Because when we're riding a bicycle, we're not extension of a bicycle. We're humans on a bicycle. We're loved by somebody," said Bastitdas, who was severely injured ten years ago on a bike.
The group wants to promote safe public policies and law, such as the one requiring buffers in Louisiana. The local effort includes businessman Brent Lumpkin and the community foundation spearheading the Contraband Bridge pedestrian bicycle initiative.
"It's a game changer. It's a quality of life. The community has decided they want to put an emphasis on the cyclists and pedestrians and we have city government. We have parish government. We have state government who are all backers of this thing," said Lumpkin.
It's hoped the meeting is just the beginning of making a safer community for those on foot or two wheels.
For more on Please Be Kind to Cyclists click here. To hear more of our interviews look for the web extra.
Copyright 2013 KPLC All rights reserved