Battle for the Bike Lanes - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Battle for the Bike Lanes

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ALEXANDRIA, La. - The bike lane on Bolton Avenue has caused quite a stir since it was put in. Businesses are concerned about having less parking, and cyclists are worried about the cars blocking the lanes. Now it looks as though the debate will move to City Hall.

But a local group is trying to strengthen the case for bike lanes, saying if they can teach cyclists and motorists to share the road safely, maybe we won't have to get rid of bike lanes.

Ed Kendrick was hit by a car while cycling in June. He's still feeling the effects.

Ed Kendrick, Kisatchie Bicycle Club: "That was really traumatic, and it's really been a life-altering experience for me."

And with a broken skull, severe lacerations on his head, and a broken hand, he says he will be for some time.

Kendrick: "Probably several years before my body can reclaim what it had."

But Kendrick says this accident could have been avoided. That's why he's advocating for more bike lanes--and bike safety--in Cenla.

Kendrick: "We need to start somewhere and get going with it."

On Tuesday, a committee meeting of the Alexandria City Council will hear both sides of the debate over the new bike lanes on Bolton Avenue.

Stacey McMickens, CEO Fit Families for Cenla: "If this bike lane gets shut down, we've basically gone back to square one, where we have nothing."

Stacey McMickens and Fit Families for Cenla are heading up new programs to teach bike safety. She says she hopes this will show the city council that cyclists are ready to be on the roads with other vehicles.

McMickens: "To get motorists to respect us, we need to follow the laws and the rules, and so that's what we want to encourage cyclists to do. So it's a two-way street in that sense, that there needs to be education on both sides."

McMickens says she understands concerns about bike lanes, but there should be a sense of perspective.

McMickens: "It's not our intent to take away anyone's parking, but it's very important that we understand that it's parking areas versus people's safety."

Three months after his accident, Ed Kendrick is back to cycling. But he says he's striving to be careful, and daring to be hopeful that Cenla gets more bike lanes soon.

Kendrick: "Our society is getting busier. We have more people, more businesses, more activity. And hopefully cycling, and bicycle commuting, will become more of what we do."

And if you want to see more bike lanes in Cenla, there's an online petition sponsored by Fit Families.

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