Meet John Devine, Georgia Bikes’ new executive director

Meet John Devine, Georgia Bikes' new executive director

Meet our new Executive Director, John Devine, AICP.  John lives in Athens and comes to Georgia Bikes with over twenty years of experience in transportation and community planning. 

When he’s not riding bikes, talking about bikes, tinkering with bikes, or advocating for people who bike, John enjoys music, soccer, disc golf, hiking, traveling, and spending time with his family.  

Learn more about John.

2021 Georgia Bike-Walk Summit Registration Now Available

Registration for the 2021 Georgia Bike-Walk Summit is now available

Registration for the virtual conference is free, but donations and Georgia Bikes memberships are encouraged

Now in its 12th year, Georgia Bikes’ annual summit is expanding to include sessions of interest to advocates seeking to make biking, walking, and rolling in our state safer and better for all of us. The summit is presented by Bike Walk GA supported by a grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

This year’s summit will be held entirely online, Oct. 20-22, with variety of session types, including single presentations, moderated panel discussions, and small-group interactive discussions. 

 

 

Biketober challenge kicks off Oct. 1

Biketober challenge begins Oct. 1, Atlanta area residents invited to participate

It’s time to gear up for the annual Biketober challenge!

Biketober is a fun, free competition that encourages all metro Atlantans to experience the joy of riding a bike. Throughout the month of October, the challenge offers participants opportunities to win prizes and offer to encourage each other to experience the joys and benefits of riding bikes. 

Prizes up for grabs include an electric bike from Edison Bicycles and, if you register by Sept. 30, you’ll have the chance to win a $1,000 REI gift card. Here’s how to get rolling:

You can ride anywhere, anytime in October – just a 10-minute ride is enough to take part.

  1. Register – Login (if you’ve taken part before) or Sign-up
  2. Enjoy a bike ride/s
  3. Log it here or connect a cycling app (Strava or Map My Ride)
  4. Earn points, climb the leaderboards and win prizes!

You can also invite your coworkers to take part and compete against other workplaces on an Atlanta-wide workplace leaderboard.

More information and detailed instructions are available on the Biketober website.

Georgia Bikes Board of Directors thanks Elliott Caldwell for his service

Georgia Bikes Board of Directors thanks Elliott Caldwell for his service

The Georgia Bikes Board of Directors wishes to thank Elliott Caldwell for his service to the organization. Elliott joined the Georgia Bikes staff as complete streets coordinator in 2016 and served as executive director from June 2017 to September 2021. Elliott has returned to Washington, D.C. to pursue new opportunities.

“The work Elliott has done to create safer bicycling reaches throughout the state and touches beginning cyclists as well as more experienced,” said Georgia Bikes Board of Directors Chair Cheryl Burnette. “Georgia Bikes is thankful to have had the pleasure and honor of working with Elliott to move our organization and cycling in the state forward. We wish Elliott well as he moves on to the next chapter.”

Elliott worked tirelessly with partner organizations and lawmakers to pass important legislation, including Georgia’s new three-foot passing law, which went into effect July 1 of this year. He planned and produced the annual Georgia Bike Summit for four years, including the first-ever virtual summit in 2020. Throughout his tenure with Georgia Bikes, he provided support, guidance, and encouragement to bicycle advocacy organizations and individuals from all over the state.

He also undertook the difficult but necessary task of contacting friends and families of fatal crash victims to connect them with support services, while establishing partnerships with government agencies, other nonprofits, businesses, and community organizations to improve safety and access for people who bike, walk, and roll. Elliott was steadfast in his commitment to making the state a better place for all people who ride bikes, and all Georgians — no matter how they travel — have benefited from his work to make our state’s streets and roadways safer for everyone.

 

Georgia Bikes’ mission is to improve bicycling conditions and promote bicycling throughout the state of Georgia. Founded in 2006, the nonprofit has offices in Athens and Savannah. Support safer and better bicycling by joining or donating to Georgia Bikes today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Youth Bike Summit in Atlanta postponed until 2022

Registration now available for Youth Bike Summit

UPDATE:

Due to the spike in COVID-19 infections as a result of the Delta variant and the lack of vaccination options for youth under 12 years of age, the Youth Bike Summit (YBS) National Steering Committee has decided to postpone the 2021 Youth Bike Summit in Atlanta planned for October 8th – 10th.  In consultation with the BRAG Dream Team and the YBS Atlanta Youth Advisory Council the YBS National Steering Committee will select a new date for the 2022 Youth Bike Summit by December 2021. 

 

After a pandemic year of sheltering in place and maintaining social distance while wearing masks, the Youth Bike Summit is back and it will take place in Atlanta the weekend of Oct. 8 – 10. The BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia) Dream Team is the host organization for this national gathering and Wilderness Works is the host site. Due to the vaccination campaign limits, the 2021 Youth Bike Summit will be designed to maximize safety for the youth and adults who attend this special event.

Registration is now available and session proposals are being accepted. Find out more on the Youth Bike Summit website.

People for Bikes hosting VIP tent at Athens’ Twilight Criterium

Enjoy prime race views for the start and finish of the Athens Twilight Criterium, great hospitality, meet athletes and mingle with PeopleForBikes staff and industry colleagues at Athens Twilight on Aug. 21 from 5-10 p.m. The tent will be located at the corner of College Avenue and East Washington Street. Registration is required. 

Athens Twilight is the pinnacle of criterium racing in the United States. 

As CyclingTips.com puts it, “The streets of downtown Athens, Georgia, become a block party. Fireworks in the parking lot, bars overflowing, thousands of screaming college kids lining barriers. Oh, and there’s also a bike race happening.”

First ever Georgia Bike Walk Summit scheduled for Oct. 20-23

First ever Georgia Bike-Walk Summit set for Oct. 20-23

Summit will be presented in a hybrid format, combining virtual sessions with outdoor mobile workshops around the state

 

Now in its 12th year, Georgia Bikes’ annual summit is expanding to include sessions of interest advocates seeking to make our biking, walking, and rolling in our state safer, more accessible and equitable, and better for all. The summit is supported by a grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation.

“We are thrilled to announce the dates for the 2021 Georgia Bike Walk Summit, organized in collaboration with our colleagues at PEDS, who recently merged with Atlanta Bicycle Coalition,” said Georgia Bikes Executive Director Elliott Caldwell.

Sessions will be scheduled for Oct. 20-23, . All virtual sessions will take place Wednesday-Friday, with Saturday, Oct. 23 reserved for mobile sessions. Mobile sessions may also be scheduled for other days/times. The summit will offer a variety of session types, including single presentations, moderated panel discussions, mobile sessions, workshops, and small group interactive discussions. Session proposals are now being accepted.

Suggested session topics include:

Transportation funding
Technology
Cultural change
Accessibility
Bicycle Safety

Placemaking
Healthy communities
Transportation equity
Rural and suburban multi-modal networks
Multi-use trails

Bicycle events and tourism
Adaptive re-use
Public engagement
Technical skills workshops
Mobile tours

Updates on sessions and other details will be posted on the Georgia Bike-Walk Summit website. 

Big wins for people biking, walking, and in Macon and statewide

Big wins for people biking, walking, and rolling in Macon and statewide

As June draws to a close, advocates in Macon are celebrating the passage of a new ordinance that will make local streets safer and more accessible. And beginning in July, a new, more effective 3-foot passing law will go into effect statewide.

Macon-Bibb County adopts Complete Streets ordinance

On June 22, the Macon-BibbCounty Commission unanimously passed an ordinance, the purpose of which is to, “establish Macon-Bibb County as a livable community with enhanced mobility, equity, and vitality in all neighborhoods and for people of all ages and abilities, through the design, maintenance, and use of public rights of way. Macon-Bibb County aims to create a robust, efficiently operated, and well-connected transit network, a well-defined pedestrian and bicycle system, and to promote the improvement of public health, safety, economic growth, and quality of life.”

 “Bike Walk Macon began working on the Macon-Bibb County Complete Streets Policy in 2016 with countless groups, advocates, and Macon-Bibb County agencies,” said Bike Walk Macon Executive Director Rachel Hollar Umana. “We’re thrilled to finally reach this important milestone that demonstrates that our leadership recognizes the importance of planning, designing, and installing safe infrastructure for all modes of transportation. We look forward to continuing to work with Macon-Bibb County to implement this policy and improve multi-modal options and connectivity across our city!”

 

The new Complete Streets ordinance identifies design standards that “maximize design flexibility and innovation,” including the National Association of City Transportation Officials Urban Street Design Guide and Urban Bikeway Design Guide, the Georgia Department of Transportation Complete Streets Policy, and other sources. It also establishes a Complete Streets Compliance Committee, with seats designated for Bike Walk Macon and U Create Macon board members.

 

Georgia Bikes Executive Director Elliott Caldwell said the organization supported Bike Walk Macon on the new policy and he thanks Caila Brown for her work on the policy during her time with Georgia Bikes, Voices for Healthy Kids (collaborative initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association), and the National Complete Streets Coalition for their support early on in the policy development.

New 3-Foot Passing Law, passed in last legislative session, goes into effect July 1

When Georgia’s “3-foot passing law,” was passed by the Georgia General Assembly in 2011, it codified 3 feet as the minimum safe distance for overtaking or following a cyclist. In the intervening years Georgia Bikes has produced campaigns to educate the public about the law and its safety benefits. In addition, Georgia Bikes’ training programs have been updated to include information so that bicyclists, drivers, law enforcement, and others will better understand and apply the law.

 

Still, some parts of the law were difficult to convey to the public and proved problematic in court cases, especially the language that suggested drivers allow 3 feet or wait to pass only when doing so was “feasible.”

 

New language included in HB 353 — sponsored by Representative Todd Jones (R-South Forsyth, District 25), Representative Angelika Kausche (D-Johns Creek, District 50), Representative Charles Martin (R-Alpharetta, District 49), Representative Teri Anulewicz (D-Smyrna, District 42), Representative Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta, District 81), Representative  Marcus Wiedower (R-Watkinsville, District 119), and carried in the Senate by Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell, District 56) — removes the word “feasible” and specifically defines motorists’ ability to move into the adjacent lane to pass, a component of other “slower moving vehicle” laws, that was absent from the 3-foot passing law.

 

“After years of trying to get improvements to our 3-foot passing law, we are thrilled to finally see an update to the law that well improve safety for bicyclists while giving clearer instructions to drivers,” said Georgia Bikes Executive Director Elliott Caldwell. “A huge thanks to our bill sponsors, especially Rep. Jones who worked diligently on the bill and spoke for it eloquently and forcefully, Sen. Albers for carrying it through the Senate, and a special thanks to Rep. Anulewicz for stepping in to help in crucial moment during its journey.”

 

The improved law was Georgia Bikes’ top legislative priority for this year’s legislative session and the organization’s staff worked with Bike Law Georgia on the technical legal aspects of the new policy. The new law, which will become effective July 1, also specifies that a driver must reduce speed to 25 mph or 10 mph below the posted speed limit, whichever is greater, if they are passing a cyclist in a shared lane. It also specifies that, “Any violation of this Code section shall be a misdemeanor punished by a fine of not more than $250.00.”

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety “Capital to Coast” events focus on cycling safety

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has launched a new public awareness campaign for National Bike Month 2021. To kick off this effort in Georgia, GOHS will be debuting “Capital to Coast 2021” May 3-7. The inaugural launch of this campaign will include a five-city educational tour, in cooperation with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, BikeAthens, Bike Walk Macon, Bike Walk Savannah, Bike Walk Golden Isles, and Georgia Bikes.

According to GOHS, “In 2019, 846 cyclists were killed in traffic crashes across America and 20 of those deaths occurred in Georgia. In fact, preliminary data from the Georgia Department of Transportation shows Georgia’s cyclist fatalities increased to 28 in 2020.”

To help decrease these numbers, the Capital to Coast 2021 tour will focus on issues like helmet use, the “3 Feet Law,” tips for both motorists and cyclists. Read more about Capital to Coast on the GOHS website.

Georgia Bikes opposes bill requiring registration and licensing of bicycles

Georgia Bikes is aware of the recently proposed SB 310 and are not in favor of it. As this bill was filed March 22, it will not be advancing further in the 2021 legislative session. The current session is past crossover day so this is a “marker” bill for next year — nothing will happen on it during the current session. The bill reads:

SB-310 A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to motor vehicles and traffic, so as to provide for registration and licensing of bicycles; to require registration of a bicycle for operation upon highways; to provide for punishment; to revise a definition; to provide for the acquisition of a license plate for a bicycle; to provide for the design of license plates for bicycles; to provide for application and form; to provide for the option of a one-time bicycle registration fee in lieu of annual registration; to prescribe fees for annual and one-time registration of bicycles; to provide a short title; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. 

While we understand and share deep concerns about this kind of legislation, bills are filed regularly that do not receive hearings or votes so we ask that concerned individuals and organizations partner with us on a response as to build a unified voice on these important issues. Georgia Bikes’ legislative team is on top of the bill and are an incredibly effective group; we trust them in their approach to all bills at the Capitol. Through them, the organization has built relationships with important members of both the House and Senate on bicycle and transportation issues.

Georgia Bikes will share updates in the coming weeks on next steps for local bicycle advocates, clubs, and organizations and looks forward to educating legislators on positive measures that they can take to increase safety and access for people biking in Georgia.

If you have questions or concerns about SB 310, please contact us. For more information on other bills we are tracking, please visit our 2021 Legislative Agenda page.