The New Orleans City Council passed new laws related to bicyclists and pedestrians in the city. Some people may not be aware of the new rules. Therefore, we are summarizing some of the new laws below to help motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists avoid accidents and remain safe on our roads. These rules are not all new rules — we urge you research the new laws for pedestrians and bicyclists to ensure you understand your rights and your responsibilities.

Motorists Using Bicycle Lanes

Bicycle lanes are for bicyclists, but motorists can use these lanes in certain circumstances. For example, a driver can enter a bicycle lane within 200 feet from an intersection when preparing to make a turn. A driver may also enter the lane to park or leave a parking space and to enter or leave a private road, alley, or driveway. However, drivers must yield the right of way to bicyclists who are using the lane.

Motorists and Car Doors

“Dooring” accidents can cause bicyclists great injury. A “dooring” accident occurs when a motorist opens a car door in the path of a rider. Anyone opening a car door must check to make sure that opening the door will not endanger anyone or interfere with traffic. Doors cannot be left open longer than necessary to enter or exit the vehicle or load and unload items from a vehicle.

Bicycle Equipment

If you ride a bicycle in New Orleans, you are required to have the following equipment installed when riding during the daytime or when people or vehicles ahead of you may not be visible:

  • Properly working brakes that make the bicycle wheel skid on clean, level, dry surfaces;
  • A front lamp that shines a light that can be seen from 500 feet;
  • A rear lamp that emits a steady red light or a flashing red light that can be seen from 500 feet away;
  • If a bicyclist chooses to wear the required lights instead of mounting them on the bike, the lights must be visible from 500 feet away; and,
  • Bicycles must have bells or other devices that are not whistles or sirens that can emit a sound that is heard from at least 100 feet away.

Using Hand Signals

Bicyclists must use hand signals when turning. For a left turn, hold arm straight out with your hand open and back of the hand facing rear traffic. To make a right turn, bend your arm at a 95-degree angle. Motorists are required to use the same hand signals for turns if the vehicle’s turn signals are not working.

Pedestrian Right of Way

In most cases, pedestrians have the right of way. For example, pedestrians crossing with a green light have the right of way except when the only green light is a turn arrow. Pedestrian signals take priority over traffic signals for motorists. Pedestrians should use caution when crossing streets even if they have the right of way.

Riding in Groups

Bicyclists may not ride more than two people alongside each other unless riding on a road or path specifically for the exclusive use of bicyclists.

Motorists Passing Bicycles

When passing a bicyclist, motorists must remain at least three feet away from the rider while passing.

For more information, refer to the Traffic and Vehicle laws for the City of New Orleans.

Has a Negligent Driver Injured You?

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident or pedestrian accident, we can help. Call Attorney Fred Olinde of The Olinde Firm at (504) 587-1440 or 1-800-587-1889 to request a free consultation with a New Orleans accident attorney.