Commuters find biking easy in the Big Easy

According to a new study by, New Orleans has the fifth most bicycle commuters per capita in the country. Almost three percent of the city's population is making its daily commute on a bike.

That translates to about 11,400 bicycle commuters on the city's roads each day.

Robert Henig Bell, Campaign Manager at Bike Easy, says it's understandable.

"New Orleans is a fairly dense city. We're flat. And, we have a lot of people who love to be outside, even though it's a little hot out. So it's pretty convenient if you live anywhere near major job centers downtown." 

"And, if you live in an area where you can pretty easily bike along the river trail, the lakefront to your job, it's a great way to do it and avoid traffic entirely. And that actually is more true in areas away from downtown."

"Right now, there is a way for folks from Carrollton, Mid-City and Lakeview to get almost all the way downtown fully separated from car travel."

"It's that old, dense layout of the city itself. The fact that so many of our communities are near to one another and we have that culture of walking on streets in a way that other larger cities in the south don't."

He says New Orleans has made great strides in accommodating the burgeoning number of bicyclists, but a lot more can be done to make sure we all get along on city streets.  

"The city does need to ramp up its efforts to make things clearer and easier for people to get around each other. And that's not just for people biking, it's for people driving, too."   

The study by concentrated on commuters only. So the study doesn't include the numerous recreational bikers on the roads. All in all, Henig Bell says that's a lot of folks out there competing for their share of the pavement.  

"The city can do things to make the rules of the road a little clearer and better for everyone on the road...bikers, walkers, drivers, everybody. And I think they're doing so now."  

"One in five households in New Orleans does not have regular access to a motor vehicle," he says. "So people do walk, they do take the bus, they do bike. And that's really deeply imbedded in the culture here in New Orleans."