When you think of cities that are accessible and friendly to bicyclists, Baton Rouge may not be at the top of your list. This sentiment is backed by data assigning Baton Rouge a rating of 20 for its bike facilities and bike accessibility. Overall, the city ranks 1011 out of 1733 cities surveyed by PeopleForBikes and seventh in the state of Louisiana for “bike-ability.”

This does not mean that you can’t enjoy bicycling in Baton Rouge or that bicycling in the city is especially dangerous. Familiarizing yourself with the facilities, laws, and challenges in the city can help prevent a bicycle accident in Baton Rouge from occurring.

Louisiana Bicycle Safety Laws

Baton Rouge bicyclists must be familiar with and obey Louisiana laws that govern the operation of bicycles. These laws are an essential component in reducing the likelihood of an accident that can leave you or your loved one with severe or fatal injuries. These laws include the following:

Helmet Law

All children who are under the age of 12 must wear a properly fitted helmet while on a bicycle. This applies regardless of whether the child is operating their own bicycle or riding as a passenger on the bike of a parent or other person. 

Although older children and adults are not required to wear a helmet, it is still highly recommended that you do so to reduce the risk of injury.

Safe Passing Laws

Bicyclists in Louisiana should know that motorists are supposed to give them three feet of clearance anytime a car or truck is overtaking the bicyclist. This requirement is meant to put a safe distance between the car and the cyclist so that the two do not unintentionally collide during the maneuver.

Riding on Sidewalks

There is no statewide law that prohibits bicyclists from riding on the sidewalk. However, Baton Rouge has passed a local ordinance that makes it illegal to ride a bike on a sidewalk in a business district and anywhere else where a sign indicates. When bicyclists can ride on the sidewalks legally, they must yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Use of Bicycle Lanes

In some areas of Baton Rouge, designated bicycle lanes are present on roadways. If you see a bicycle lane, the law requires that you use it. No other traffic is permitted to use a bicycle lane other than bicyclists. If a road does not have a designated bicycle lane, you should ride your bike as close to the right-hand side of the roadway as possible.

Other Traffic Laws

Bicyclists are subject to the same traffic laws as other motorists and must follow the same traffic signs and lights as cars and trucks. Bicyclists are not permitted to perform an “Idaho stop,” in which the rider stops at a stop light but then proceeds through the light if there is no other traffic approaching. 

Baton Rouge Bicycle Accident Statistics

In 2022, 44 bicyclists lost their lives in bicycle accidents in Louisiana, and over 550 were hurt. Louisiana Department of Transportation (LaDOT) statistics from 2023 reveal that two bicyclists were killed in East Baton Rouge Parish. Overall, 4 bicyclists were injured in West Baton Rouge Parish that same year, and 59 were hurt in East Baton Rouge Parish.

According to LaDOT, approximately 17% of bicycle accidents that happened across the state in 2022 involved the use of alcohol by one or more involved parties.

Other common causes of bicycle accidents include:

Distracted Driving and Riding

Both motorists and bicyclists have an obligation to keep their attention on the road and remain in control of their vehicles. For their part, drivers should put away cell phones, food, beverages, and other things that can cause them to lose focus on their surroundings or create difficulties for them in controlling their cars.

Bicyclists will want to avoid using headphones while riding on roadways. Listening to music while riding your bike can be relaxing, but it can also cause you to not pay attention to road signs, signals, and the movement of traffic. You may also fail to hear a motorist’s horn or other audible warnings alerting you to a nearby hazard.

Failure To Yield the Right of Way

Both drivers and bicyclists must follow Louisiana’s right-of-way laws when they are on the road. Generally, traffic that is turning left must yield to oncoming traffic. Bicyclists using a marked crosswalk have the right of way over traffic seeking to cross through the crosswalk. 

Additionally, any car, truck, or bicycle that stops for a stop sign or light must give the right of way to other traffic that does not have a similar traffic control device.


Dooring refers to when a motorist parks their vehicle along the side of the road and then suddenly opens their car door in the path of an approaching bicyclist. The cyclist may not have enough space to avoid a crash and therefore can run into the car door or motorist. 

Bicyclists who collide with car doors can easily be thrown from their bikes and suffer broken bones, back injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.

Notable Infrastructure: Downtown Greenway and Other Bike Facilities

You can find dedicated biking trails in Baton Rouge, and the city is set to increase this number of available trails in the future.

The Downtown Greenway in Baton Rouge is an example of a biking trail meant to link the inner city with other nearby residential neighborhoods and parks. The Mississippi Levee Trail is another combined-use trail that offers bicyclists a scenic view of the iconic Mississippi River. 

Both facilities are examples of the sorts of trails and paths that Baton Rouge intends to introduce in the coming years to encourage even more bicycling.

The Verdict on Biking in Baton Rouge, LA

Baton Rouge recognizes that its citizens who want to bike for business or pleasure must contend with a host of challenges. One of the most important of these challenges is the lack of significant bike trails and bike lanes to allow bicyclists to commute safely without interfering with the normal traffic flow. 

Until such facilities are developed, you can stay safe while biking in Baton Rouge by adhering to traffic laws and making it a priority to always remain alert to your surroundings.