The Georgia Bikes Blog

Seed Grants Awarded!

Georgia Bikes! is very pleased to announce the five recipients of our first round of $1500 Seed Grants for new bicycle advocacy organizations!

We received a large number of qualified applications from around the state (great news in and of itself, as it shows the growth of bicycling in Georgia!). Many thanks to all of our applicants - please try again this spring for round II!

The following five organizations demonstrated the most exciting programs, enthusiasm and organizational capacity to move bicycling advocacy forward in their communities. Congratulations to our round I grant recipients, and special thanks to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety for providing the funding for these grants through the Share the Road grant program!

Round I Seed Grant Recipients

Read more about each grant recipient below:

Wheel Movement

"Augusta is a growing cycling community. Since the 1990's the community has hosted numerous major cycling events, [including] the 2010 IMBA World Summit, Tour de Georgia, BRAG, the ESi Ironman 70.3 Augusta, and the upcoming USA Cycling National Road Championships.

Wheel Movement was created in 2009. The committee was developed at the recommendation of Augusta City Administrator Fred Russell, a huge cycling advocate. The idea was to create an advocacy group represented by the disparate cycling enthusiasts in the area. Representation included bicycle commuters, road cyclists, triathletes, and mountain bikers.

Wheel Movement looks forward to working with organizations around the state to promote safe cycling. We will use our $1,500 award to produce safe riding clinics, develop a safe road initiative/media campaign, host law enforcement education seminars, [and develop] kids [bicycle safety] classes.

Oconee County Cycling Organization

" OCCO strives to promote safe bicycling, assist in improving bicycling infrastructure, and facilitate the growth of all types of bicycling in Oconee County, Georgia.”

With these seed grant funds, OCCO will accomplish the following:

1) Assist in funding Share the Road signs.  Oconee County government officials are leaning towards the acceptance of Share the Road signs, if OCCO pays for them (assuming, of course, the county can accept funds from OCCO for this purpose)

2) The funds will assist in promoting our spring Family Cycling event where OCCO and local bike shops will assist parents in helmet fitting, simple bike repairs, and a skills clinic for their children.

3) The funds will assist OCCO in the inaugural Tour d'OConee, a metric century road cycling event showcasing Oconee County's roads."

Bike Cherokee

Bike Cherokee promotes increased ridership and safer cycling conditions through education and advocacy in Cherokee County, Georgia.

"This grant would enable the purchase of basic resources needed to expand our operations. Those resources include:

Tabling supplies, such as a banner,  t-shirts, and a folding table and chairs, as well as printed educational materials (including a cyclist rights and safety guide). Bike Cherokee will also be purchasing tune-up supplies for community events.

In addition, Bike Cherokee plans to initiate the following programs:

1) Spring cycling safety rodeo - we will partner with local law enforcement to deliver a safe cycling education program. And we will offer basic bicycle tune-ups and bicycle safety evaluations.

2) Recruitment/education campaign at many of the local town events that go on throughout the summer.

3) With increased recruitment and higher visibility in the community, we plan to lobby the elected county representatives to adopt a bike/ped plan."

Bike Alpharetta

"As a new organization birthed in the winter of 2010, Bike Alpharetta is proud to be a community advocacy group comprised of volunteer leaders.  We are focused on providing positive advocacy for cyclists of all abilities and ages through education, recreation and social activities to support civic leaders and planners. We want all types of bicycle use to be fun and safe in our community of Alpharetta, Georgia.

Bike Alpharetta will utilize its Seed Grant for two immediate needs:

1) Web Site -  we have estimated it will cost $615 to set up a new Web site and have it operable for the first three years – secure domain name, web hosting and secure online membership payment system

2) Incorporation – we plan to file formal incorporation documents as a not-for-profit entity in Spring 2011."


"BikeDecatur encourages cycling, advocates for improved conditions, and supports city efforts in support of bicycling in Decatur, GA. They see this grant as a three-part chance to meet several local needs:

1) Develop and print encouragement materials for city residents. Materials will include bumper stickers, water bottles, t-shirts, ankle bands, reflectors, and other promotional materials. Organization volunteers will develop a “BikeDecatur” logo and family-friendly message for items.

2) The organization will use a portion of the money) to post educational messages in the city’s monthly newsletter (“The Decatur Focus”). Messages will include a brief “safe cycling” tip aimed at transportation cyclists and families as well as a link to web resources and upcoming organizational events.

3) Finally, we would like to use the remainder of the grant to partner with the city government and local events to promote cycling and better cycling conditions. Several opportunities are in development:

- partnering with the city to develop and install a covered bicycle parking facility downtown;

- develop a mobile bicycle repair and education station to place at weekly farmers’ markets and regularly scheduled city events (Beer Festival, Beach Party, etc);

- work with city government and city business alliance to develop a bicycle parking promotional campaign for increasing bicycle parking in the city. “

Congratulations again to our deserving grant recipients- we look forward to seeing your accomplishments!

The "Helping Johnny Walk to School" grant

Georgia Bikes! is very happy to introduce the "Helping Johnny Walk to School" grant blog! The "Helping Johnny Walk to School" grant provided $6,000 to Georgia Bikes! to research the effects of minimum acreage standards and to host a forum to discuss policy recommendations with the Georgia Safe Routes to School Network.

This blog will share our progress and efforts toward improving the walkability and bikability of Georgia's schools. To bring you up to speed on this program, I'm posting the Executive Summary of a white paper produced by our program's lead consultant, Mr. John Kissane:

In the fall of 2009, GeorgiaBikes! and the Georgia Safe Routes to School State Network were together selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to participate in the grant project known as Helping Johnny Walk to School: Sustaining Communities through Smart School Policy.

The story of public education in the United States is one of the great achievements in our nation’s history. And key to educational efforts and successes have been relationships developed between our schools and our communities. All across the country, towns and cities both large and small have seen neighborhoods develop around school buildings, familiar structures that have served as community anchors and have in many ways functioned as centers of activity. What would our neighborhoods and towns be without public schools? It is impossible to comprehend.

And yet, in 2000 the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed historic neighborhood schools on that year’s list of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.” All across the country, plans to close or even demolish school buildings are announced regularly. The consequences of these actions go beyond the architectural losses and educational upheaval, and in many cases involve significant cultural and environmental change as well as detrimental health impacts.

During the 2007-2008 school year, no fewer than 98,916 public elementary and secondary schools were in operation across the country, attended by more than 50 million students. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that the student population will top 60 million by 2030. Less certain is how many school buildings will be open by that time, for while the number of students has risen steadily, the number of schools is dwindling. Consider that in 1930 some 262,000 schools were open in the U.S. and that today the total is not much more than one-third this number at under 95,000. Obviously the average school size has grown tremendously over the past 80 years, as have average class sizes.

Many of the disturbing national demographic, economic, and educational trends may be observed in Georgia, a state composed of towns of all sizes -- some large and getting larger, some small and getting smaller. Many other communities in Georgia are barely holding their own, and all face the realities of these difficult economic times. Metropolitan Atlanta’s dramatic growth and expansion over the past several decades has overshadowed conditions elsewhere. Between 1980 and 2004, the Atlanta region virtually doubled in population, from 2.55 million to 5.03 million. While the City of Atlanta itself lost nearly one-seventh of its population during this period, the inner and outer suburbs experienced massive growth. At the same time, many parts of Georgia continue to be very rural in character and have experienced prolonged periods of economic stagnation and population decline.

Georgia is a state of contrasts when it comes to demographics and economic health. Here one finds severe inner city decline in contrast to remarkable suburban growth which is in turn contrasted by stagnating small towns and rural areas. Common to all parts of the state is the need to educate children and provide the very best school facilities possible. Decision-making about locations and uses of school facilities – known as school siting -- is important not only for students but for all residents of the state.

This project aims to examine policies and practices in Georgia that are serving as barriers to community-centered schools, and to then make recommendations for change.

Stay tuned for more blog posts on this exciting project from the "Helping Johnny Walk to School" grant steering committee!

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