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Thursday, July 23, 2015

New Orleans bicyclists hold "die-in" outside City Hall

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge Bicyclists staged a "die-in" outside City Hall to draw attention to bicyclists' deaths and to demand more action from city officials. - PHOTOS BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • PHOTOS BY ALEX WOODWARD
  • Bicyclists staged a "die-in" outside City Hall to draw attention to bicyclists' deaths and to demand more action from city officials.

Timothy Wade played a bagpipe across from New Orleans City Hall on a mound of grass in Duncan Plaza. Bicyclists finished spray painting a ghost bike — a memorial, provided by members of the Bad News Bike Club, to recognize New Orleans bicyclists killed by cars, and as a message to city officials that bicyclists' lives are in danger in New Orleans.

"They don't know the hell we go through," said event organizer Alexander Fleming. "It's about time they know."

Wade led a procession as people carried the bike to mount to a street sign outside City Hall, where bicyclists held a "die-in" with their bikes at their side while the names of bicyclists killed in 2015 were read. Several dozen people flanked both sides of the steps outside City Hall.
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Before the "die-in," bicyclists gathered at the ghost bike and kneeled, lit incense and signed their names with messages.

From a megaphone, Fleming told the crowd that "the city is more concerned about dead Confederates than dead New Orleanians," referencing the current debate over whether to remove landmarks dedicated to members of the Confederacy.

Bicyclists reminded one another to wear lights on their bikes at night, pay attention to traffic lights and be aware of their surroundings. Bicyclists also demanded the city add more bike infrastructure and bike lanes, and raise more awareness of riders and their rights on the road.

The New Orleans City Council was in session with its regular meeting; several City Hall staffers had gathered to watch the die-in.

The City Council's new Pedestrian & Bicycle Committee is expected to hold its first meeting next month.

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