BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The death of a long-time LSU professor is raising concerns over the safety of cycling in Baton Rouge.
Professor Norimoto Murai was killed while riding his bike Saturday morning.
“He was an outdoors person, he was a very avid runner for a long time and he switched to cycling,” said Dr. Jeff Hoy, LSU AG Center. “He came to the U.S. to go graduate school.”
Bike Baton Rouge President Lynley Farris said there are no bike lanes or a barrier to separate traffic near Stanford Avenue where Murai was hit. It’s just one example of what she says is a lack of bicycle infrastructure in the capital city.
“Definitely there can be better signage to keep people aware there is an increase of cyclists in the area, I mean it’s LSU’s campus,” said Farris.
According to Farris, Louisiana is top five in the nation for fatal bike accidents. The state is studying the LSU Lakes to figure out how to prevent losing lives like Professor Murai’s.
“He was a true scientist. He was pretty interested in his field of plant molecular biology and pretty passionate about that,” said Hoy.
“Slow down. If you can slow down when you see there are bike lanes, there are trails,” said Farris.
Just weeks ago, the Louisiana Department of Transportation finished its new road diet project on Government Street — creating bike lanes. But Farris says drivers also need to share the road.
“By seeing such an increase in fatality rate it really shows we don’t seem to be putting a value on individuals riding in cars or bicycles. That’s a really sad statement about our community,” said Farris.
The East Baton Rouge Metro Council plans to vote on two cycling ordinances on Tuesday. Farris said these ordinances will allow cyclists to safely go through a drive-through and have more modern cycling laws.