When it comes to biking and walking, how does Georgia stack up?
A new report from the Alliance for Biking & Walking puts local and state efforts in perspective in Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report.
The broad trend is clear: Walking and biking are on the rise across the United States. Active transportation has broken through into the mainstream conversation and been embraced by powerful stakeholders. But the real story is far more complex than a single trend line — or simple narrative.
Our transportation choices are significantly impacted by a wealth of different factors — from gender to income to available infrastructure — and a new report from the Alliance for Biking & Walking illuminates these often overlooked indicators that shape American mobility.
Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report collects and analyzes data from all 50 states, the 50 most populous U.S. cities, and 18 additional cities of various sizes. The report traces the rise of walking and biking and explores the intricate intersections between transportation, health, economics, equity, government funding, advocacy efforts — and so much more.
So, where does Georgia stand? See below for a quick summary, and check out the full Benchmarking Report for a complete analysis.
The bad news: Georgia’s obesity crisis continues, our investment in safer places to walk and bike is fairly stagnant, and fatalities for Georgians who walk and bicycle continue to rise.The Georgia Department of Transportation provides a daily report of fatalities – motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists- on Georgia roadways. Bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities have risen steadily the past few years. In 2014, 19 individuals were killed on a bicycle and 22 died in 2015. Since January 1st, two people have been killed while riding a bicycle: Larry Hardie, a 62 year old man riding in Port Wentworth, and, most recently, Alexia Hyneman, a 14 year-old girl, biking home from a school event February 12th in Midtown Atlanta. While the details of any given crash or fatality are incident-specific, in general it is true that quality infrastructure leads to fewer severe crashes. We are committed to seeing more protected bike lanes and paved trails in Georgia. We are further committed to educating law enforcement officers and motor vehicle drivers about the rights of people on bikes.
The good news: State policies, for the most part, support more – and safer – walking and bicycling. For public health, tourism, and overall quality of life, accesible walking and bicycling are recognized by many Georgia leaders as important attributes for attractive, vibrant, and safe communities. Just yesterday, the Georgia DOT announced a multi-year contract with us to improve bicyclist safety. For Georgia to thrive as a family-friendly state where walking and bicycling are safe, easy choices for short-distance trips and errands, we must commit transportation resources to creating Complete Streets that appeal broadly to all ages, backgrounds, income-levels, and physical abilities. Well-designed streets, in tandem with safer driver behaviors, will lead to a reduction in injuries and fatalities and will foster long-term and sustainable economic development throughout the state.