Bikes provide an easy commute for Loyola students
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2013 17:10
Economics senior Adam El-Khazindar rides a bike for the convenience his old Volvo cannot give him.
“I love having a car, but there is such an ease to biking,” El-Khazindar said, “I never need gas, I always find parking next to my class and I avoid the ‘mommy rush’ outside Holy Name if I have a 3:30.”
Whether for convenience, transportation or simple enjoyment, El-Khazindar and many other Loyola students ride bikes everyday. There are over 100 registered and non-registered bikes at Loyola, according to LUPD.
English junior Katherine O’Toole said she rides a bike to get to campus more quickly than walking.
“[Biking] is a huge time saver,” O’Toole said. “I’m able to sleep in a little longer if I bike to class.”
Music sophomore Ashleigh Sparks said that, whether for fun or for transportation, she bikes to enjoy the fresh air.
“I need the exercise biking gives me and I really love being outside,” Sparks said.
El-Khazindar said he likes biking during the day, but he particularly enjoys biking at night.
“I love the exhilarating feeling I get biking home late at night when there is not a car on the street and I can speed home,” El-Khazindar said. “I do get worried, though, that a drunk driver will run a red light and hit me.”
Students say that safety is a must among many student bikers at Loyola. Louisiana road laws provide safety regulations for bicyclists; however, many students believe bicycling can be quite dangerous.
El-Khazindar said he was cut off several times by cars ignoring street laws.
“A car drove me into a curb, bending my front tire and throwing me from my bike,” El-Khazindar said. “Another driver, cruising parallel on my left, made a right turn without signaling and I ran full-force into the car.”
El-Khazindar said he thinks drivers of cars should be more aware of bicyclists and should use the proper safety signals.
Louisiana’s bike laws include various arm signals to indicate the biker is turning, slowing down or accelerating. For example, a left arm extended horizontally away from the bicyclist’s side means the biker plans to make a left turn.
Every person operating a bike on a roadway should ride as near to the right side of the roadway as possible, according to a Louisiana bike law.
“I don’t understand why bicyclists are required to ride in the street with cars that can crush them,” El-Khazindar said. “The fact that I could get killed by a careless driver is the scariest reality of biking in New Orleans.”
Economics senior Sofia Torres said she worries a bicyclist will swerve into her car and not pay attention to the road rules while she is driving.
“Trying to squeeze down a one-way street filled with parked cars on each side is hard enough on its own,” Torres said. “Add an absent-minded biker who will not scoot over and you have serious frustration.”
Torres said she has a hard time determining what a biker will do when he or she ignores stoplights or street signs. Bike laws in Louisiana require bicyclists to follow the same rules applicable to the driver of a vehicle.
“I have seen bikers speed through red lights and swerve through bumper-to-bumper traffic,” Torres said. “I worry I might hit a biker who’s not paying attention even though I am.”
El-Khazindar said he witnesses carelessness in both biking and driving. He believes the best way to bring safety to the situation is to make everyone more cautious.
“I pay attention to bikers now that I drive and can see the other side,” El-Khazindar said. “With all the bikers on the road, including myself, I hope every driver takes the same precautions I do regarding everyone’s safety.”
Christiana Van Bree can be reached at email@example.com