If you’ve ever traveled our beloved city on two wheels, you know we have some areas built for biking. The narrow, one-way streets and historic structures in the French Quarter, Marigny and the Bywater make those neighborhoods a joy for bike riders. Then there’s the rest of the city. Streets fraught with potholes, wide boulevards and drivers unaccustomed to sharing the road make riding an unpleasant choice, especially in the New Orleans summer.
But don’t deflate your tires just yet! A number of community groups have released tools that aid in navigation and draw driver’s attention to the presence of cyclists.
Maps and Signs
Trying to figure out the most accommodating streets to bike on? Bike Easy, New Orleans’ bicycling advocacy group, has updated the city’s biking map! The map indicates New Orleans’ dedicated bike lanes, off-street trails, as well as bicycle friendly areas throughout the city and is available as both a paper map or as a downloadable PDF.
The New Orleans 2012 Bike Map marks the Jefferson Davis Parkway Trail, a bike friendly trail in Mid City. But how do you find the trail? Neighborland, an organization that probes New Orleanians for suggestions on neighborhood improvements, sponsored a team of residents who created and posted a series of wayfinding signs that direct bicyclists through a route that connects Broad Street to City Park, named Broad to Bayou Bikeway. These signs are a comfort, providing directions to bikers, raising awareness for drivers of the presence of cyclists and legitimizing those roads as viable routes for bicyclists.
Bike to Bus
In addition to the bike path signage, the team sponsored by Neighborland created an online app to aid bikers who want to utilize the New Orleans bus systems in their journey. Recently, the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority made real-time data available for the city’s streetcars and buses, making it possible to live track the schedules of the city’s public transit. Using this data, the team launched BikeBus NOLA, a website that provides free, turn-by-turn directions that allow cyclists to split their journey between bike and bus. Those who can’t access a smart phone can text “help” to (504) 322-4900 and BikeBus NOLA will text the user turn by turn directions.
Visiting New Orleans and looking to take advantage of the city’s growing bicycle culture? A Musing Bicycles in the Garden District rents bikes by the hour, day, weekend or week. With all of these great new resources, you’ll be able to safely navigate from the bike shop to any point in town!