NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Police Department and The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office are investigating separate cases leaving two cyclists dead this week.
“It’s just so heartbreaking to see these unnecessary crashes that are taking people’s lives and impacting friends and family so deeply when this could be avoided,” Dan Favre, Executive Director of Bike Easy told WGNO on Wednesday morning.
Within the last 72 hours, two cyclists died following hit-and-run collisions. One victim was identified as 38- year- old William Gray who was struck early Monday morning. The other victim was hit Tuesday evening – their identity has yet to be released. Favre says his biggest safety tip to avoid serious accidents is ‘slowing down.’
“At 20 MPH, there’s a 15% chance that someone walking or biking that’s involved in a crash is seriously hurt or killed. If you’re going 40 miles an hour, that flips and there’s only a 15% chance that someone isn’t hurt or killed,” explained Favre.
Drivers and cyclists are also encouraged to honor all traffic laws. If a driver is involved in a hit-and-run collision, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office says the consequences will be severe.
“A hit-and-run is a misdemeanor. But when you’re talking about involving a fatality or serious bodily injury, that’s a whole different story,” Captain Jason Rivarde, Commander of Public Affairs at JPSO said. “That’s a serious felony and you could spend up to ten years in prison for it.”
When alcohol is involved, some cases could result in a life sentence. If someone witnesses a collision, especially involving a cyclist, seeking medical help should be a number one priority.
“To get the lifesaving support there as soon as possible,” Favre said. “That’s how we can save lives and makes sure that everyone lives to ride another day.”
For more safety tips, visit bikeeasy.org.