2012 National Bike Summit

Last week, 20 bicycle advocates from Georgia attended the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC. The Summit is an exciting mix of education, networking, and federal-level advocacy for the cycling community. We were proud to be a part of this year’s Summit, a huge success and an urgently needed and well-timed event given current debates over a new transportation funding authorization bill in Congress. In short, the Senate passed a decently bike-friendly transportation bill, known as “MAP-21.” The House, on the other hand, wants to totally eliminate all dedicated funding for biking and walking projects. Needless to say, we told our Congressional Representatives that that ain’t gonna fly. For full details on the legislative front, visit America Bikes.

Many thanks to our professional, poised, and friendly 2012 delegation, and here’s hoping more of you, especially from under-represented cities like Athens, Rome, Columbus, and Macon, will join us next year to make the continually needed case for better biking infrastructure in Georgia

Another Seed Grant Success Story

For an inspiring example of how powerful local advocacy can be, see the success story below from Communicycle, one of our 2011 Seed Grant recipients. If you have an innovative bicycle advocacy project or program in Georgia that could use $1,500 to get started, check out our 2012 Seed Grant program!

Communicycle has been operating a bicycle co-op in Chamblee, GA for the past four years, helping neighbors obtain bicycles for transportation and teaching them to keep their bikes in good repair. Time and again, people would contact the Communicycle leaders with the idea of bringing the concept to the Clarkston community.

Communicycle Clarkston opened its doors last summer, and with the help of a seed grant from Georgia Bikes, the shop is outfitted with the necessary tools and supplies to keep people rolling. Open to everyone, the shop operates adjacent to the recreation field at the Clarkston Community center. Since opening its doors six months ago, Communicycle has helped Clarkston youth and adults obtain and repair over 150 bicycles.

Visit communicycle.org for shop locations, hours of operation, and more information about the program.

Seed grants helping Georgia’s universities be more bike friendly

Last year, our Seed Grants programs funded ten start-up bicycle advocacy and outreach programs across the state. Two of our grant recipients were from Georgia’s higher education institutions, and both of these groups are working hard to make Georgia’s universities more bicycle friendly. Check out the inspiring success stories below, and, if you have an innovative bike promotion or advocacy effort in need of funding, submit your application for a 2012 Seed Grant today!

Our friends at Georgia Tech used their Seed Grant to pay for a Bike Mentor program, which pairs new/interested bike commuters with experienced cyclists that can help them get started. They also used the funding for new campus bike maps, as well as for website expenses and safety materials.

Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson rode with students during the 2011 Bike Week

Bike Emory, our other 2011 recipient, sends this report on their Seed Grant-funded activities:

Emory University is using the funding provided by GA Bikes to secure a matching grant from the Clifton Corridor Transit Management Association to produce a safety video in addition to the banners, collateral and targeted police enforcement already planned for the campaign.· Filming for the video will take place in March and will be written, directed and casted by Dad’s Garage Theatre Company, based in Atlanta, GA.· The campaign will rollout in April 2012 and the video will be distributed on-line and through various social media channels.

SB 468: From Single-File to Complete Streets

Below is the official press release summarizing our successful resolution of the SB 468 issue with state Senator Butch Miller:

Georgia Bikes Works With Senator Miller to Preserve Rights and Safety of Road Users

Last week, Georgia Senator Butch Miller of Gainesville introduced Senate Bill 468, which would have required single-file bicycle riding.

Georgia Bikes, the statewide bicycle safety advocacy organization, responded immediately, working with Senator Miller to draft revised language that protected the right to ride two abreast. At the February 23rd Senate Transportation Committee hearing on the bill, Georgia Bikes representatives testified on the safety benefits of side-by-side riding.

As bicycling safety advocates conveyed to the Senate Transportation Committee, requiring single file riding places cyclists at much greater risk of being in a dangerous crash, as motorists are less likely to see them and are inclined to pass them without the safe and legally required three foot buffer.

On February 28th, Senator Miller’s office confirmed to Georgia Bikes that the Senator will not pursue passage of SB 468, preferring instead to work with Georgia Bikes on the implementation of a Complete Streets policy over the remainder of this and into the next legislative session. Complete Streets policies emphasize that public roads should be designed for moving people, not just automobiles, and should include facilities that improve safety and access for transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists of all ages and abilities.

“Senator Miller recognizes that legislating common sense and courtesy is difficult to accomplish and that thoughtful transportation policies will benefit all Georgians,” says Georgia Bikes Executive Director Brent Buice. “Georgia’s cyclists sincerely thank the Senator for his dedication to protecting the rights and safety of all of Georgia’s road users.”