With funding from Georgia's "Share the Road" specialty car tag, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety has awarded an $84,000 grant to Georgia Bikes to improve bicyclist safety in the state. This award represents the fifth year of such funding from GOHS and will support free law enforcement workshops, bicycle safety events throughout the state, the purchase and distribution of our popular Bicyclist Pocket Guides, and continued training for our staff in the best practices for bicycle safety education and outreach. The GOHS grant also provided significant support for the 2014 Georgia Bike Summit in Columbus.
With our partners at GOHS, we're working to reduce the number of bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries in Georgia. We sincerely thank GOHS for their commitment to safer roadways for all users and look forward to utilizing their support to improve bicyclist safety in Georgia.
The League of American Bicyclists announced the latest round of newly designated Bicycle Friendly Communities, and Georgia got some great news.
Congratulations to Peachtree City, the state's newest bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community!
Peachtree City features over 90 miles of paved multi-use paths that are open to golf carts, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The city is also creating bike-friendly streets and roads to accommodate daily bike travel and recreational cycling. Peachtree City joins seven other communities in GA with the BFC designation.
We want to recognize the city of Alpharetta as well for its Honorable Mention. Keep up the great work, Bike Alpharetta!
Our neighbors in Chattanooga also deserve a high-five. The city moved up from bronze to silver, one of only a handful of cities in the southeast to have earned that designation. So far, all the BFC's in Georgia are bronze level. Who will emerge as our first silver-level city?
The national organization focused on improving bicycle tourism, Adventure Cycling Association, recently wrote up the 10 Indicators that Bicycle Travel and Tourism is Booming.
Georgia has all the raw material needed to become a global destination for tourists who enjoy bicycling. We have challenging mountainous climbs, relaxing coastal bike paths, lovely antebellum college towns, and a vibrant capital city where bicycle infrastructure and cycling culture seems to double every few months.
Most of our mid-size cities boast impressive multi-use paths, from the Heritage Trail in Rome to Columbus' top-notch Riverwalk and Fall Line Trace. Thanks to the tireless work of the PATH Foundation, Georgia is also home to many dozens of miles of nationally recognized rail-trails, chief among them the Silver Comet, Stone Mountain PATH, and Arabia Mountain trails. You can investigate these, and all of the state's major bike tourism destinations, on our Bicycle Tourism page.
Georgia offers marquee bicycling events like BRAG and the Six Gap Century. There are small and large century rides throughout the state. Casual urban tourists can enjoy excellent sightseeing rides in Atlanta and Savannah. Signed routes for self-guided tours already exist in rural Sumter and Walton counties. One of our Board members, Eddie Shirey of Conyers, just published a guidebook and website for people who want to explore the history and route of Sherman's infamous "March to the Sea" by bicycle.
All this is to say that GA has a lot going on already for bicycle tourism. Bicycle tourism is great for Georgia. It brings in money, shows off the authentic culture and beautiful landscapes of the state, and all of the factors out of our control - history, geography, climate - are completely on our side. So, what about the factors within our control? How do we position Georgia as the bicycling destination in the southeast?
Let's start by looking at Adventure Cycling's quick guide for communities who want to capitalize on the bike tourism boom:
"At its most basic, bicycle tourism means offering good riding opportunities alongside welcoming customer service."
You offer these two traits through:
1) Quality, safe, physical places for people to ride, from standout facilities like the Silver Comet Trail to bicycle friendly city streets and bikable rural shoulders. See our Executive Director's presentation to Dublin, GA officials for more about designing bike-friendly streets and roads for bike tourists.
2) A friendly, welcoming atmosphere for people on bikes. Check out Social Circle's cost-effective efforts on this front. Convenient bike parking, bike friendly lodging/camping, and well-publicized emergency and repair services for stranded cyclists are important aspects of creating an atmosphere of welcoming customer service.
3) Be a community of safe drivers who welcome bicyclists to their community. Nothing will scare off bicycle tourists faster than a high-profile hit-and-run...or a nasty personal encounter with an aggressive motorist. Tourists can travel anywhere they want to ride bikes. If your town isn't welcoming and safe for people on bikes, they won't come back, and they'll definitely tell their friends not to visit your community to ride. Engage in "Share the Road" campaigns for local drivers, and make sure law enforcement officers take aggressive and distracted driving seriously.
Just make sure you become a member, or renew a lapsed membership, by Sunday, November 30th at 11:59 PM EST.
There are two bags you could win, a handlebar bag or a pair of custom panniers. Both of these were created using sponsor banners from past Georgia Bikes events. Good luck, and thanks for your support!