The Georgia Bikes Blog

Bicyclist fatalities: report uncovers how & why they happen

Vox.com covers a new report by the League of American Bicyclists on how and why bicyclists are being killed on our roadways.

Three important points stand out from the report:

1) "Driver error contributes to way more deaths than cyclist error." Despite incessant complaints about scofflaw cyclists (and trust us, we get plenty of emails on the subject), the vast majority of people operating bicycles do so lawfully and courteously. Distracted, careless driving is the single biggest risk factor in fatal crashes with people on bikes.

What we're doing about it: We partner with GDOT to create safer roadways and with the Governor's Office of Highway Safety to create and distribute PSAs about sharing the road safely with bicyclists.

2) While not a common type of collision overall, rear end collisions "can be the most dangerous ones, especially when cars are moving at high speeds and drivers don't see cyclists." Urban arterial roads that lack separated facilities are usually a higher risk for these types of crashes. The solution: Complete Streets conversions, that include at least buffered bike lanes, on high-speed arterial roads.

What we're doing about it: We were just awarded a second grant from FHWA to conduct an additional series of workshops on Complete Streets implementation. This year, we'll be conducting workshops in Albany, Macon, Milledgeville, and Valdosta.

3) "In order to prevent bicycle fatalities, we need to begin collecting much better systematic data on them." Compared to the copious data collected about motor vehicle use and crashes, there is almost no data on bicycling in Georgia. Only Atlanta and Savannah conduct any kind of bicycle traffic counts, and the state's official highway safety plans do not include measurable performance measures for reducing bicyclist fatalities, despite the fact that these types of fatalities have been on the rise since 2011.

What we're doing about it: We serve on the Strategic Highway Safety Plan non-motorized task team and have recommended a number of specific performance measures to increase data collection about bicyclist fatalities.

 

GDOT Hosting Statewide Safe Routes to Schools Forum

GA SRTS Forum logo FINAL 2014

The Georgia Department of Transportation is inviting educators, school administrators, local officials, parent/teacher association representatives, and interested persons from across the state to a free Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) forum.  The event – the first of its kind in Georgia – will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Friday, June 6, at Decatur High School and offer a variety of workshop sessions - from how to spice up your SRTS event to how to conduct a walkability review.

Participants will hear from SRTS champions, advocates and other leaders.  During lunch, this year’s Resource Center Partners of the Year will be introduced and Katherine Moore, Sustainability Growth Manager for the Georgia Conservancy, will discuss the Conservancy’s work on school siting.

Registration details and complete information on the state’s SRTS program are available at:  http://www.saferoutesga.org/content/first-statewide-safe-routes-school-forum-friday-june-6-2014 .  Registration closes Tuesday, June 3.

Launched in 2009, Georgia DOT's SRTS Resource Center assists schools and communities with education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation, planning, and other non-construction-related SRTS activities.  Efforts have focused on primary and middle schools (grades K-8), but now are being expanded to include high schools.  Georgia’s SRTS Resource Center is centered on the concepts of the international safe routes to school movement, the purposes of which are to encourage children to walk and bike to school and also to improve safety in the vicinity of schools.  SRTS encourages and helps empower communities to make walking and bicycling to school a safe and routine activity once again. 

Bike Month membership giveaway

With ten days left in National Bike Month, we're rewarding one lucky new/renewing member with this hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind, waterproof handlebar bag by Athens' own Tiny Tank Tech!

   

Anyone who becomes a member, or renews a lapsed membership, from May 1 to before June 1, 2014 is eligible to win the handelbar bag.

The bag was created from a Georgia Rides to the Capitol sponsor banner and features the logos of Georgia Bikes, Bike Roswell, and the cities of Decatur and Atlanta.

 

Bicycle commuting up across US

Tomorrow is National Bike to Work Day, and many Georgians are gearing up for their very first, or yet another, enjoyable commute by bicycle.

In this GPB story on bicycle commuting rates rising across the nation, two quotes stand out:

"'The fact that a good portion of Southern cities were built around the automobile might have something else to do with [lower rates of bike commuting in the South].'"
and
"There's another factor that might put the break on bike commuting: fear of traffic and motorists."

We can address the first issue with better planning and zoning that fosters thriving, walkable, bikable communities.

We can easily address the second issue through engineering and education. Wherever possible, city streets need well-designed, separated facilities that appeal to the majority of people, not just athletes. Where better facilities aren't possible or don't yet exist, all people on bikes need to know and practice assertive cycling techniques that maximize their visibility among motor vehicles.

Through short-term and ongoing efforts like National Bike to Work Day and bicyclist education, we can encourage more people to give bike commuting a try, at least for a day here and there, but our best bet for shifting a meaningful percentage of our commutes from motor vehicle to bicycle can only be achieved through improved infrastructure.

Want to learn more? Contact us!

Congratulations, Milledgeville! GA's newest Bike Friendly Community!

Outstanding news for one GA community via press release from the League of American Bicyclists:

As we continue to celebrate National Bike to Work Week, the League of American Bicyclists today announced its latest round of Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC).

 "This round of applications overwhelmingly confirms what we heard from local elected officials at the National Bike Summit this year -- riding a bike embodies the quality-of-life aspirations of communities across the country," said League President, Andy Clarke. "Making this healthy and active transportation mode safe and easy is of growing importance to the 8 million residents of New York City and the 6,000 people in Franklin, Pa. alike. We're excited that these communities have made the smart and vital investments to become a designated Bicycle Friendly Community."

Milledgeville, Ga., was 1 of 49 communities selected by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to work to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic through policy and system changes. One of the main goals of that initiative was to gain a Bicycle Friendly Community designation from the League. Today, Milledgeville is now a Bronze-level BFC.

"Milledgeville is proud to have earned the designation as a bicycle friendly community from The League of American Bicyclists," said Mayor Richard Bentley. "We have worked over the past several months to make our community more inviting to bicyclists and to encourage more citizens to utilize bicycles as a means of transportation, recreation, and exercise. We hope this will aid in our message to encourage citizens to get active and help our community in several ways to include traffic issues, parking, and the environment."

See the full list of Bicycle Friendly Communities here. An additional 28 communities received Honorable Mentions.

Congratulations to Milledgeville for this outstanding recognition! Milledgeville joins six other officially designated BFCs in GA.

Milledgeville becomes an official Bicycle Friendly Community from Georgia College on Vimeo.

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