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The Georgia Bikes Blog

Gov Deal vetoes "Dead Red" law

Senate Bill 76, which was passed by the General Assembly, would have allowed motorcyclists and bicyclists to carefully proceed through an unresponsive traffic signal. Governor Nathan Deal vetoed the bill, which also included provisions altering the allowable height of motorcycle handle bars as well as clarification on when motorists should stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

Dea's official statement on the veto:

“While I am sympathetic to the concerns and causes of motorcyclists and bicyclists, this legislation does not provide an adequate solution and presents a confusing exception to motorists. Furthermore, Senate Bill 76 would eliminate the current 15-inch height restriction placed on motorcycle handlebars. Motorcycles equipped with handlebars more than 15 inches in height pose a safety hazard due to the increased difficulty in steering and decreased control. In 2014, crashes involving motorcycles and bicycles accounted for 13 percent of the fatalities on Georgia roads, and I do not see how this legislation will enhance roadway safety. Therefore, in the interest of providing the necessary roadway safety Georgians deserve, I hereby veto Senate Bill 76."

GA ranks 25th for Bicycle Friendliness amidst string of fatal crashes across state

In the shadow of a recent string of crashes that killed bicyclists in Albany, Braselton, Milton, Molena and Savannah, the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) has released its latest ranking of Bicycle Friendly States. In the eighth annual assessment, Georgia achieved a 25th place ranking nationally, moving up one spot since 2014.

"It’s a bittersweet moment for bicycling in Georgia," said Brent Buice, Executive Director of Georgia Bikes. "We are proud of our upward movement in the ranks, thanks to our advocacy efforts and some state policies that support safer bicycling. However, we are deeply saddened by the recent tragic crashes from across the state."

Safety advocates recommend that Georgia adopt legislation, known as a Vulnerable Road User law, to increase penalties for motorists who injure or kill law enforcement, EMS workers, people on foot or on bicycles, and other road users who are at greater risk of injury. The Georgia General Assembly considered such a law in 2013, but the bill did not pass the state House after leaving the Senate. One of LAB’s key recommendations for Georgia is that it enact such a law.

Since late March, five Georgians have been killed by motorists while riding bicycles. In Brooks County, a man was hit and killed by a semi-truck driver on March 26. By all accounts, he was riding safely and obeying the law. April 26, a man in Savannah was struck by a motor vehicle, and ultimately succumbed to his injuries. On April 29, Jason Young, a 45-year-old father of three, was killed when struck head-on by a motorist in Milton. Two other men who were riding with Mr. Young were also seriously injured. Days later, a bicyclist was hit from behind and killed by a drunk driver in Braselton. May 7, a man was hit from behind and killed in Pike County.

Overall, traffic fatalities in Georgia are up 19% from 2014. Bicyclist fatalities are 67% higher than in 2014, while the state’s already alarmingly high pedestrian fatalities (67 in 2015 so far) have increased 10% from this time last year.

“Ultimately, most, if not all, crashes are preventable,” says Buice. “ Through better engineering of our streets we can safely accommodate all users, ages, and abilities. In addition, through more rigorous driver education and targeted enforcement campaigns, we can crack down on speeding, distracted driving and impaired driving.”

The idea that all traffic fatalities are preventable is known as “Vision Zero,” a policy adopted by several U.S. cities, including New York and Seattle.  In praise of the policy, Seattle Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly observes that, “No one should accept a traffic fatality as a byproduct of [their] commute.”

Funding to proactively implement safe, family-friendly streets is an area where Georgia needs significant improvement, according to the League’s Bicycle Friendly State report card. Despite passage of a major transportation funding bill in the 2015 General Assembly session, no explicit provision was made for improving the safety of Georgia’s most vulnerable road users. Georgia also fails to fully leverage its apportioned federal transportation dollars for eligible walking and bicycling improvements. This lack of investment in safe streets and neighborhoods results in our relatively low ranking as a Bicycle Friendly State.

At the local level, several cities in Georgia have accepted USDOT Secretary Foxx’s Mayors' Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets. The cities of Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, and Stone Mountain have formally pledged to advance safety and accessibility for people who walk or bike. Major components of the Mayors’ Challenge include adoption and implementation of local Complete Streets policies and addressing barriers to safe walking and bicycling, such as high motor vehicle speeds. “City scale commitment to safer streets is essential,’ says Buice, “and those Georgia communities with high rates of bicycling - Athens, Decatur, and Savannah, for instance - need to accept the USDOT Challenge and proactively implement safer street designs and outreach programs.”

"There is so much that cities and mayors can do to address these needs," notes Rebecca Serna, Executive Director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. " For instance, the City of Atlanta Mayor's Office is establishing a Safer Streets committee that will focus on Complete Streets implementation and better data collection on bike crashes."

The Bicycle Friendly States ranking is based on a number of key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities; education and encouragement programs that promote cycling; and passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages to ride.

 

 

Floyd County bicyclist catches aggressive driver on helmet cam

"A man has been charged with assault after Floyd County deputies said he was caught on camera pushing a bicyclist to the ground."

Dublin multiuse trail and River Walk plan moving forward

Great news for Dublin, GA, via press release from their office of tourism:
 
 
 
Beginning April 28th, a team of trails professionals will be in Dublin to begin the first phase of planning 
 
for the proposed bike trail and river walk in Laurens County. Alta Planning + Design, led by landscape 
 
architect and project manager, Oliver Seabolt, will take up residence in Dublin for five days. Focuses 
 
include a plan for development of State Bicycle Route 40 in Laurens County and a multiuse recreational 
 
trail connecting Downtown Dublin to the Oconee River, with loops through downtown connecting 
 
Market on Madison, First African Baptist Church, and First National Bank Building to the river.
 
Two public input sessions are scheduled to allow the community to offer suggestions regarding the 
 
proposed bike trail and river walk. The first is scheduled during First Friday Concert Series on Friday, May 
 
st at Market on Madison and another is scheduled during Market on Madison farmers market on 
 
Saturday, May 2nd. The public is encouraged to sit down with Alta’s team discuss their ideas, concerns, 
 
and suggestions.
 
“Development of SBR 40 and the river walk will have a huge impact on tourism, economic development, 
 
and our downtown neighborhoods in need of investment. It will allow visitors and the community direct 
 
access to the Oconee River and improve walkability, bike ability, and increase residents’ options for 
 
healthy lifestyles, said Rebecca McWilliam, Director of Tourism with Visit Dublin. 
 
On March 3, 2015, Dublin City Council unanimously approved funding for the development of a master 
 
plan detailing the eventual development of a State Bicycle Route 40 and a multiuse recreational trail and 
 
river walk along the Oconee River. Alta Planning + Design, out of St. Simon Island was selected through 
 
an intensive RFP process to develop the master plan developing SBR 40 and the river walk. Alta Planning 
 
+ Design will present City Council with three options for the master plan.
 
For more information, contact Visit Dublin GA at 478-272-4002 or see www.visitdublinga.com.

Cogentes Receives Gold Bicycle Friendly Business Award!

 

Cogentes, a Milledgeville-based IT firm, was just named Georgia's first Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business. This is a huge accomplishment for Cogentes!
 
Our sincere congratulations as well to the Columbus Georgia Civic Center and Atlanta Trek in Peachtree City, both of whom were awarded Silver-level BFB status. Great job!
 
These designations are a welcome sign that Georgia's business community understands the importance of making bicycling easy, safe, and accessible for all Georgians.
 
The official press release about Cogentes' award from the League of American Bicyclists is below.
 
 
 
Washington, D.C. -- April 22, 2015 -- Today, the League of American Bicyclists 
has awarded 161 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses in 31 states and Washington, D.C.
 
With this Earth Day announcement, the program has grown to include more than 950 visionary local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies from across the country that are changing the script on what it means to provide a top-notch experience and atmosphere for employees and customers alike. 
 
"On this Earth Day, the League recognizes and applauds the efforts of these business leaders across the country," said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. "Their leadership is setting a precedent in their communities, states and the nation for what it means to practice what you preach. 
 
They are forging a better future for us all by investing in a more sustainable future for the country and a healthier future for their employees."   
 
Bicycle Friendly Businesses encourage a more bicycle-friendly atmosphere for employees and customers. BFBs attract and retain energized, alert and productive employees, while decreasing healthcare costs.
 
This round, Cogentes, located in the Bicycle Friendly Community of Milledgeville GA, became the first business in the state to receive a Gold Bicycle Friendly Business designation.
 
"Cogentes is both honored and thrilled to be named a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business," said President and CEO Tom Glover.  "Over the past two years since receiving our Bronze level designation from the league, we have focused on instilling a culture of cycling as both a viable means of transportation and a fun, family activity.  Every member of our team participated in the 2014 National Bike Challenge as did many of their family members.  Through creative programs such as our monthly Bike with the Boss, Cycle for Vacation Time and year-end giveaways, many of our employees have been become avid cyclists.  Furthermore, these employees have encouraged their entire families to start cycling and build a lifelong love of the sport.”  
 
As the state’s only Gold designated Bicycle Friendly Business, Cogentes is looking forward to being an ambassador for this program to help promote more bicycle friendly businesses throughout the region.  With the 2015 Georgia Bike Summit being held in Milledgeville this year, Cogentes plans to play an integral part in the programs and encourage other businesses to follow their lead in making cycling core to their culture. 
 
To apply or learn more about the BFB program, visit the League online.
 
 
 
***
 
 
 
About the Bicycle Friendly America Program:  The Bicycle Friendly America 
 
program provides incentives, hands-on assistance and award recognition for 
 
communities, universities and businesses that actively support bicycling, and ranks 
 
states annually based on their level of bike-friendliness. These programs are 
 
generously supported by Trek Bicycle.
 
  
 
About the League: The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to 
 
create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to 
 
listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse 
 
communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change. For more information 
 
or to support the League, visit www.bikeleague.org.


 

 

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