New Iberia Bicyclist Killed in Late Night Crash
IBERIA PARISH, La. (KPEL News) - A two-vehicle crash in Iberia Parish took the life of a bicyclist late on Friday night, according to Louisiana State Police.
44-year-old Rickey Paul Flores of New Iberia was traveling south in the northbound lanes on Bull Island Road in Iberia Parish when he was struck by a Ford Ranger traveling in the same direction.
Flores changed lanes after a car driving northbound caused him to steer out of the way, putting him in the path of the Ford vehicle. He was hit, which forced him to be ejected from his bicycle, LSP said in a statement.
"Flores, who was not wearing an approved helmet and whose bicycle was not equipped with any lamps or reflective materials, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene," state police said in a statement. "The driver of the Ford was not injured. A breath sample was obtained from the driver of the Ford which indicated no alcohol in his system. This crash remains under investigation."
Troop I has investigated 58 fatal crashes resulting in 65 deaths since the beginning of 2022.
Laws Regarding Bicycles in Louisiana
LPS notes that bicyclists should "never assume that motorists can see you" when traveling on the road, especially at night. "Simple precautions such as wearing an approved bicycle helmet and reflective materials."
There are several laws in Louisiana pertaining to bicycles on the road, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. Included in those are:
Safe Passing Laws
"Louisiana requires that the operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall exercise due care while the motor vehicle is passing the bicycle and shall leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet and shall maintain such clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle," DOTD explains. "An operator of a motor vehicle may pass a bicycle traveling in the same direction in a no-passing zone only when it is safe to do so." (Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §32:76.1)
On helmets, DOTD notes that "Louisiana requires that any person under the age of 12 riding a bicycle, as an operator or passenger, must wear a protective bicycle helmet. The issuance of a citation for failure to wear a required helmet shall not be prima facie evidence of negligence. The comparative negligence statutes of Louisiana shall apply in these cases as in all other cases of negligence." (Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §32:199)
Treatment as a Vehicle
"In Louisiana, bicycles are vehicles according to the statute that defines vehicles," they explain. "A person riding a bicycle has all of the rights and duties of the driver of a vehicle as provided in Title 32 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes, except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application." (Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§32:1(92); 32 §194)
Where to Ride
Louisiana requires that bicyclists ride as close as practicable to the right-hand edge of the roadway except under any of the following circumstances," DOTD explains. "(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; (2) when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; (3) when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway, including a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane; (4) when approaching a place where a right turn is authorized; and (5) when operating upon a roadway or a highway, where there are two or more marked traffic lanes and traffic travels in only one direction, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near the left-hand curb or shoulder of that roadway as practicable when preparing for a left turn." (Source: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §32:197)