OUR VIEW: Bike trail, sports park offer promising start

Anyone who’s ever been to Terrebonne Parish knows that we have elite food – some of the best in the world.

We also have tons of opportunities to hunt, fish and do everything that comes with Sportsman’s Paradise.

With the proposed Field of Dreams set to be in place in the coming years, we also have everything in place to have a mecca for anyone who wants to swing a baseball bat, sink a jump shot or toss a Frisbee around a grass lot.

But if you’re not overly into sports or the great outdoors, the Houma scene could be considered pretty dry to the eyes of some.

So it’s for that reason that the Southdown Bike Trail is a huge boost to our area – a major leap forward in quality of life for our people.

Now open to the public, the trail system – a 1-mile, 2-mile and 5-mile option for onroad and off-road biking – will allow our citizens to enjoy opportunities to get much-needed exercise at their own leisure.

Walkers and those with pets will also be able to make use of the space.

But it’s going to require our help to make it happen.

South Louisiana is great in many ways, but we are not known for our patience, nor our prowess when it comes to expertise on the roadways.

As the Southdown Bike Trail becomes more and more popular, it is vital that area drivers acknowledge the trail’s existence and understand that our bikers have rights on the roadways.

The cyclists have laws protecting them just as anyone else on the road. Honking at them, yelling at them, following them too close or doing something to create a hazardous situation does no good to anyone involved.

For their part, cyclists are expected to wear the proper gear, use proper arm and hand signals when navigating the road and ride single-file, unless the road is marked as a designated bike path.

The stretch of the trail along Civic Center and Valhi boulevards is clearly marked. South Hollywood Road also has signs posted alerting cyclists and motorists that bikes are permitted use of the entire road.

Louisiana law requires motorists to give cyclists a wide berth as they pass – 200 feet, in fact. In turn, cyclists are expected to be good citizens as they travel, extending drivers courtesies they’d expect.

So just think about those things the next time that you’re on a local street and you see one of our neighbors enjoying the parish’s new roadway addition.

After all, the community is among the happiest places in the country, according to a recent study.

So let’s act like it and embrace the fact that our quality of life as a community is now enhanced with the Southdown Bike Trail being born into existence.