HB 689 – Anti-Cycling Legislation

Last year, three state Representatives from Gainesville introduced HB 689, which would 1) require tags and registration for bicycles, 2) remove the right to ride two abreast, 3) require bizarre spacing requirements for group rides, and 4) declare certain unrestricted public roadways “off limits” to people on bikes.

This bill was introduced on the last day of last year’s legislative session.

Bills introduced in the General Assembly are technically “alive” for the two years of any given legislative session (we are entering the second year of the two year session this January).  In essence, bills introduced within the two-year span remain on the docket until the whole docket is cleared at the end of the second year.  HB 689’s sponsors could bring it up for a vote this year, and rest assured we’ll be watching for any activity on HB 689, but it’s not moving now and we see no reason to think it will move forward in January. It is highly unlikely this bill will even make it to a floor vote in the House, and we know it has no chance of passing the Senate. HB 689 is not the law and has not been voted on by any legislator.

Thanks to Georgia Bikes, you have a lobbyist representing your interests and keeping a close eye on bills like this that impact your rights and safety. If you appreciate having a watchdog at the Gold Dome, please become a member!

We’ll post any updates about HB 689, or other legislation that affects cyclists, here and on our social media.

New Census Data: 84K+ Georgians walk or ride to work

New data has been released from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and it confirms what many of us already know from observing our cities: more and more people are using bicycles for transportation. Nationally, 2012 saw an impressive 10% increase in bicycle commuters since 2011. Since 2000, bicycle commuting has risen more than 60%. For more analysis of the ACS 2012 data, visit the League of American Bicyclists’ blog.

As a primary means of transportation, around 2% of working Georgians answered that they either walked or rode a bicycle in 2012. That means at least 84,000 people in Georgia routinely rely on walking or bicycling to get to work. If the ACS recorded secondary and occasional walking and cycling trips, the number would be much higher.

An additional 2% listed public transportation as their primary commute option. All of those trips include walking and many may include un-reported bicycling trips to reach the transit stop or station.

Meanwhile, pedestrians and cyclists represented a grossly disproportionate 15.5 % of all traffic fatalities in 2012. If for no other reason than safety (and there are plenty of other worthy reasons), Georgia must commit meaningful transportation investments toward improving both bicycle and pedestrian facilities. We’re working with GDOT and other state agencies to make sure that happens sooner than later.