The Georgia Bikes Blog

Congratulations to Columbus, GA!

Good news for those who live, work and visit Columbus, GA — CCG Council just passed critical amendments to their Complete Streets Policy! These measures will greatly strengthen the policy, allowing for more transparency and accountability. The changes included:

  1. Adopting specific engineering design guidelines for the application of bike, pedestrian, and transit facilities; including acknowledging the role that aesthetic design can have for encouraging safe and welcoming streets.
  2. Creating a committee to publicly address and make transparent the process of how CCG/GDOT decide which roadways may be feasible for Complete Street implementation. This committee shall abide by objective, quantifiable, criterion when evaluating a corridor for the feasibility of a complete streets application.
  3. Requiring the committee to provide status updates to the public on the state of complete streets project implementation and other metrics that are crucial to monitoring and allowing stakeholders to have the data and information available to them in order to help direct public discourse.

Click here to read the full text amendments.

A little bit of history...

In 2014, City Council passed Resolution 92-14, authorizing a Complete Streets policy based on the statewide policy issued by the Georgia Department of Transportation. This resolution made clear that Columbus would make an effort to be inclusive of all modes of transportation including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, persons with disabilities, and would encourage transportation projects to consider safety and mobility.

While this has been a step in the right direction and new projects are now being designed with other users in mind, more could be done on the policy side to ensure that these state and national objectives are being met in the long-term future. Georgia Bikes, local supporters and the office of the Mayor proposed that Columbus look to other cities that are leading the way in complete streets in order to strengthen the Columbus Complete Streets policy and continue to promote equitable transportation. The Planning Department then drafted these proposed amendments to strengthen the policy. 

A big thank you goes out to our supporters, including Bicycle Columbus, Voices for Healthy Kids, The National Complete Streets Coalition, American Heart Association, AARP GA and many more.

The next time you see a Columbus Council Member or Planning Department staff person, make sure to thank them for their support of safer streets for all road users!

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Interested in learning more about the process to write and adopt a Complete Streets Policy for your city or county? Contact Caila Brown, GA Bikes Complete Streets Program Manager, for assistance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Georgia Bikes Board of Directors 2018

 

(Georgia delegation to the 2017 National Bike Summit with many current Georgia Bikes Board Members and Staff) 

Georgia Bikes has been fortunate over the years to have dedicated Board Members who give their time and expertise to help manage the organization as well as help it build and grow.

We have a slew of new Board Members for 2018 from all across Georgia who are involved in bicycles in a variety of ways, from education and events to policy and planning. We couldn't be more proud of this great collection of individuals who will help us continute to move Georgia and Georgia Bikes in the right direction.

Find out more here: 

2018 Georgia Bikes Board of Directors 

Earn-A-Bike Programs

 

Georgia Bikes promotes bicycling across the state through our efforts to create Complete Streets policies, support building local advocacy organizations, and provide bike safety education among many other functions.  Our educational efforts are broadened and higher impact through collaborations. We are highlighting activities that are done in part with those we collaborate with during the year. This is to not only identify their good work and to share learning experiences, but to issue a challenge to communities to take up one of these featured  activities in your area. We also encourage those who do host many of these same activities and classes to talk back and let us know what you are doing and how it goes. Sharing is caring and the more ways of doing things the better we will facilitate our growing bicycle community state-wide.

 

In March 2018, we co-hosted a Earn A Bike class with Decatur Active Living and the staff at Ebster Community Center in the city of Decatur, GA.  In case you’re unfamiliar with Earn A Bike, it is a low-key, hands on, learning environment to learn bicycle safety, bike handling skills, and basic maintenance and by completing the process, the individual earns a bicycle.  It definitely creates relationships, if you have any questions about Earn A Bike program development, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  

 

Must haves for a successful Earn A Bike:

  1. Enthusiasm

  2. Tools that support learning.  Basic is okay! Our Tweens Guide to Bicycling is easy.  

  3. Working bicycles

  4. A supportive team

  5. Basic tools- bicycle pump with an air pressure gage, multi-tool, lights, bike lock

 

Learning tips:

  1. Create a program that best fits your goal, resources, and needs of the community.

  2. When working with children and young people, it is good to have at least two adults to teach, demonstrate and support.  We had four to five students participate and there were two adults. If kids are working in groups or pairs, up to eight students with two adults works well.  One to share the material and the other to float between the two groups to facilitate learning. Over eight, add an additional adult. This becomes more important when on the road, practicing a group ride.

  3. Having visuals or using the environment will help with communication.  Remember most young people do not understand the principles of driving so practice and demonstration creates pathways to learning.

  4. Providing children with written information and reviewing the principles will support their use of that tool and increase the likelihood that they will use it again in the future.

  5. Allow youth to demonstrate their knowledge and skill.  Additionally, have them to take turns leading the group.  Provide a review their skills. This feedback gives them both confidence and the opportunity to see what they did well and what need to improve.

 

We asked Staff at Decatur Active Living (DAL) and Ebster Community Center (ECC) a few questions about why they wanted to host this class and here are their responses!

 

Why did DAL/ ECC decide to host this program?
We wanted to provide a fun, educational opportunity for at risk youth to learn about bike safety and earn a bike that so many of the participants don't have. This is a new program to Decatur Active Living. We had several bikes and citizens donated some
bikes so we thought it was the perfect opportunity.

What does an earn a bike program do, provide, solve?
Earn a bike provides participating youth the opportunity to learn bike safety, the proper way to take care of their bike and for many of them; the chance to have their own bike once they complete the program. From observing bike behavior around the Ebster center, most children and teens have never been taught the rules of the road,  their importance of respecting cars and how to ride safely. Earn a bike program teaches that in a small group setting for kids to really understand the responsibility of having a bike. This program makes a difference for kids that participate and lifelong bike lessons are taught.

What do you hope this provides for the community?
Earn a bike will start a new trend in the Ebster community. Earn a bike graduates will show off their cool bikes, they will share with their friends what they've learned and their ridership will keep the bike culture diverse in Decatur. The more kids we have graduate form this program, the better chances of Decatur having safe, smart bike riders around the city.

What are upcoming kid focused bicycle-related programs at DAL?
Our annual bike camp is June 11-June 15th. This camp for kids 8-12 years old dives deeper into bike safety, proper bike handling, bike maintenance and rules of the road. The weeklong camp makes cycling fun and encourages campers to ride more often to school and with their families. The city is also offering  a Bike Rodeo event on Thursday April 5the during spring break. Our bike rodeo for kids offers bike maintenance checks, helmet fitting and a fun bike safety obstacle course. We also offer bike registration in case a bike is lost or stolen, its registered with Decatur Police department and if found, can be returned to owner.

 

 

2018 Georgia Bike Summit Bid for Proposals

Georgia Bikes Request for Bids: 

2018 Georgia Bike Summit Host City

Event Date: Fall 2018, date TBD

Applications due: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 5PM to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Summary

Georgia Bikes is the voice for a bicycle friendly Georgia. Our mission is to promote bicycling and to improve bicycling conditions throughout the state. We see the bicycle as both a sensible means of transportation and an enjoyable form of recreation. By creating friendlier conditions for cycling, we will improve traffic congestion, air quality, public health, and the overall livability of our communities. For more about the organization and its programs, visit http://GeorgiaBikes.org.

 

To share best practices and disseminate information about creating bicycle friendly communities, Georgia Bikes hosts the Georgia Bike Summit every Fall. The purpose of the Summit is to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders  - bicycle advocates, cycling enthusiasts, bicycle retailers, elected officials, law enforcement, transportation planners and engineers as well as representatives from the fields of public health and tourism – to collaborate in building a bicycle friendly Georgia. A secondary purpose of the Summit is to the showcase the bicycle culture and amenities of communities throughout the state. Toward that end, the Summit is hosted in a different city each year.

 

Previous Summit locations:

·        2010 – Savannah

·        2011 – Athens

·        2012 – Augusta

·        2013 – Roswell

·        2014 – Columbus

·        2015 – Milledgeville

·        2016 – Jekyll Island

·        2017 – Macon       

 

For photos and information about previous Georgia Bike Summits, visit: http://georgiabikes.org/index.php/events/38-bikesummit

 

Host City Representative: Scope of Work and Responsibilities

The host city shall provide an individual representative to serve as the primary liaison between Georgia Bikes and the host city for the 2018 Georgia Bike Summit. The host city representative will be expected to:

  1. Work with Georgia Bikes’ Executive Director to develop a six month timeline that corresponds to the Scope of Work and by which to manage and implement the planning and coordination of the 2018 Georgia Bike Summit;
  2. In collaboration with the Executive Director, establish a 2018 Georgia Bike Summit Committee comprised of local bicycle advocacy organization leaders/staff,  local bicycle retailers, and, if appropriate, representatives from public health agencies, CVBs, and local government;
  3. Attend 2018 Georgia Bike Summit Committee teleconference and in-person meetings as scheduled by the Executive Director;
  4. Coordinate local event sponsorship solicitations, lodging discounts, publicity, media outreach, and invitations to elected leaders and transportation officials

Outlined tasks above may be modified and other tasks relevant to the development of the 2018 Georgia Bike Summit may be assigned as needed, based upon mutual agreement of the ED and Host City Representative.

 

Qualifications for Host City

The 2018 Georgia Bike Summit Host City will be an accessible, safe, and welcoming venue for a multi-day conference focused on bicycling issues in Georgia.

 

Required qualifications include:

  • Presence of an active local non-profit advocacy organization with a mission focused on on-road/paved trail bicycle safety and advocacy
    • Local advocacy organization must be able to provide 6-8 volunteers for logistical needs
    • Local advocacy organization must coordinate Summit social event(s) and group bike ride(s) for Summit participants
  • Conference facilities that can accommodate up to 200 Summit participants and attendees
    • Facilities must include a plenary session room with seating for up to 200 individuals, plus at least four breakout workshop session rooms that can seat up to 65 individuals each
    • Facilities must be safely accessible by bicycle to and from lodging options
  • Lodging options that are safely accessible by bicycle to and from Summit facilities and event locations
  • Facilities for pre- and post-Summit social events that can accommodate up to 250 Summit participants and attendees
    • Facilities must allow for food and beverage service
  • Catering options for social events and conference meals/ snacks
    • Caterers must be able to accommodate a full range of dietary needs, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free meal options
    •  

Preferred qualifications include:

·        “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation or active pursuit of such designation

·        Bicycle rental or bike share opportunities for Summit participants

·        Free or subsidized conference facilities

·        Opportunities for mobile workshops

·        Vocal support for the 2018 Georgia Bike Summit from local elected officials

 

 

 

Application Process

Interested communities are invited to send their bid via email only to Elliott Caldwell, Executive Director, Georgia Bikes, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 PM EST on Friday, March 23, 2018.

 

Proposal Guidelines

Bids should include the following:

  1. Name and contact information for Host City Representative;
  2. Contact information for local advocacy organization in host city;
  3. Narrative explaining why the community is the best host city for the 2016 Georgia Bike Summit with specific reference to required and preferred qualifications outlined above;
  4. List of three most recent comparable events or conferences held in the community.

 

Questions? Contact Elliott Caldwell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Safe Routes to Schools Staff Highlight

 

 

Georgia Bikes is a statewide organization that works across Georgia to support communities in creating environments that are appropriate for smart bicycling.  Our work requires collaborations with many organizations and individuals who are local and involved to see this vision accomplished.  Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Resource Center in Georgia works in five regions across the state; North, Southwest, Metro Atlanta, Coastal, and East Central, with a dedicate staff member in these areas.  There are a number of available resources and services communities are about to receive free of charge to make their school communities a safer, fun, and well designed environments for everyone to have the option to bicycle.  

Here is an interview with the newest member to the team, Marielena Gutierrez, she works in Metro Atlanta, covering Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton.  She works in the position formerly held by Nichole Hollis.  If your school community is looking to get students walking and biking to school or different ways to increase physical activity during the school, this interview will cover the services offered and how to make contact with SRTS Georgia.

What is your position with SRTS?  What do you do?

I am Marielena Gutierrez and am an Outreach Coordinator with SRTS in Metro Atlanta serving Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton counties.  I encourage students and schools to walk or bike in a safe way.  Our project is based on the Six Es which are:

Engineering

Encouragement

Education

Evaluation

Enforcement

Equity

I coordinate events like International Walk to School Day or “I Walk”, help schools coordinate making safe routes with planners, engineers, and schools to increase safety, provide materials and resources free to partner schools, attend career days, visit after-school programs and libraries, and give the “Crossing Award” to crossing guards.  Additionally I work closely with School Champions who are either staff, parents or school liasion, who coordinate events in schools.  

 

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

Working directly with children is the most rewarding.  When I am out and able to teach something, seeing them enjoy learning makes me happy!  I enjoy serving communities regardless of status and getting parents involved.  The goal is to build a new generation and we are planting the seeds for that growth towards more active lifestyles.

 

What parts of your role do you feel add the most value to the school community?

Everything is important!  Education however is the key.  Events can be adopted on a weekly or monthly basis, it all depends on the school’s commitment level to making progress.  It is exciting and schools benefit more when they are more engaged in the events and more active.

 

What are ways you think school communities must change to make them safer environments for students to walk or ride a bike?

This is also a combination of everything!  Children must be educated to have knowledge about safety.  Drivers also need more information because many are not aware of the dangers.  Speed control which is a design and engineering issue must also be addressed.  Without any changes, there will be more crashes on school campuses.  All the pieces together are important.

 

How can schools get involved with SRTS?

It is easy!  Schools, parents, teachers may contact the Resource Center by calling, emailing; all the information is on the website.  http://saferoutesga.org/content/georgia-regions

 

What are some successes you’ve had this year?

There was a high number of participants and participating schools in “I Walk/” International Walk to School Day this year.  A total of 61 schools in DeKalb, Clayton, and Fulton in both elementary and middle school.  The City of Decatur had a high participation and Westchester Elementary had a total of 77% students participate in “Walk and Roll”, their version of “I Walk”. That made them won the “Golden Shoe Award”.  We are also reaching the Hispanic community.  This year I was able to provide information in Spanish to students in assemblies and classes about safety.

 

What do you do when not working?

I like to go to the gym, to cook, eating, hanging out going to concerts, festivals and being with friends and family!

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