Tuesday, November 20, 2012

West Feliciana Parish Police Jury agenda

Thanks to all who responded to yesterday's call to action on the West Feliciana Parish Police Jury agenda item to discuss permits for groups of three or more bicycle riders on Parish roads. At least 15 cyclists both from Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana took time out of their busy schedules, prepared to comment on this issue. My sincere gratitude to each of one for attending, and professional attitude shown by all. A special thanks to Marsanne Goldsby, who could not be at the meeting, but who prepared a list of talking points to help our effort to respond to this restrictive proposal. Fortunately Juror Mel Percy acknowledged that the restrictive "groups of 3 or more" was erroneous wording as that would limit families from riding together without a permit. The intent of the permits was to inform agencies (Police, Sheriff, Fire, EMS etc) of large group rides, such as charity rides, races, and BRBC century events. Agreement in principle was reached to form a committee to discuss how to best implement such a process so as to be most useful for the Parish and the event organizers. Those wishing to participate in this process, please contact WF Parish Secretary Sherrel Johnson @ 225.784.3652. Juror Percy also offered that cyclist have not always been the best behaved, and cited past incidents at Parish Fire stations, where riders were suspected of relieving themselves either before or after a ride. No parking signs have since been posted at fire stations, and to my knowledge the cycling community has respected the parking ban. Those who spoke to the Jury included Ron Duplessis, Justin Flint, and myself. Others locals spoke, but I did not catch their names. Ron spoke offering that whatever is crafted must not inhibit the blossoming business support brought by cyclists as one of Louisiana's premier cycling destinations. Justin offered a beginning dialog on determining what would constitute a group size requiring a permit suggesting that 50 would be a minimum number and not interfere with the many impromptu rides which could have between 3 and 25 participants. This will be one of the topics of the upcoming committee. No doubt, whatever the outcome, this could be a pattern that other Parishes copy, and it is in the cycling community's interest to have a hand in its development. Bruce

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