The Georgia Bikes Blog

A fun focus on safety in Savannah

In July of 2012, 22-year newlywed Matt Kohler of Pooler, GA was killed when a driver struck him from behind. He left behind a bereft wife and mother, both of whom have since become outspoken champions for improved bicycle safety in Georgia.

Matt was a fan of Moon River Brewing Company, and John Pinkerton, co-owner and brewmaster of Moon River, was a big fan

of Matt's. To raise awareness for bike safety, especially Georgia's three feet safe passing law, Moon River partnered with Savannah Bicycle Campaign to host the 2nd annual Matt's Moon River Cruise. We joined our Savannah colleagues for a daylong celebration of bicycling, starting with a bike safety press conference at Ellis Square. We spoke to television and print reporters on the need for motorist awareness, better enforcement of the 3' law, and the importance of people on bikes knowing their rights and responsibilities as vehicle drivers.

Following the press conference, SBC volunteers shared bike safety tips like the ABC Quick Check, and then we split into teams for a bicycle scavenger hunt throughout the city (search #mmrc on Instagram and Twitter for pics). One couple from Pennsylvania, who had never been to Savannah before, joined the ride and scavenger hunt because they thought it would be a fun, creative way to explore a new city. They weren't disappointed!

Our ride through historic city streets and neighborhoods concluded at Moon River, where we joined a crowd of supporters enjoying bluegrass music and Moon River's craft beer. We also heard a stirring plea from Matt's mother for safer conditions for bicycling. 

Next time you are following or passing a person on a bike, remember that they are someone's son or daughter, father or mother, friend or loved one. With a little common courtesy and careful, lawful driving, we can all get home to our friends and families.

Our sincere thanks to Savannah Bicycle Campaign, Moon River, and the Kohler family for hosting this event to raise money and awareness for safer cycling in Georgia.

Coverage of the event from Savannah Morning News.

Georgia ranked 26th among Bicycle Friendly States

Bike Month brings latest ranking from League of American Bicyclists

Kicking off National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists has released its latest ranking of Bicycle Friendly States. In the seventh annual assessment, Georgia achieved a 26th place ranking nationally, while placing 4th in the South and receiving 38.57 points out of 100.

"We are excited and encouraged to see real progress in states like California, Minnesota and Utah," said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. "Overall, we still see a lot of opportunity to realize the huge potential of bicycling to promote health, economic development, and quality of life." 

The Bicycle Friendly States ranking is based on a number of key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities; education and encourage programs that promote cycling; and passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages to ride. In the policy arena, Georgia excels, boasting one of the nation’s most forward thinking state-level “Complete Streets” policies. State funding to proactively implement safer roadways for all users is an area where Georgia needs improvement. Another strength identified for Georgia is its strong and growing network of over two dozen local bicycle safety organizations, which collaborate with Georgia Bikes for statewide improvements to infrastructure and law enforcement.

“Georgia is hungry for bicycle improvements,” says Georgia Bikes Executive Director Brent Buice. “Bicycle ridership is higher than ever - for both transportation and recreation, cities are passing ‘Complete Streets’ policies across the state, and enthusiastic, grassroots advocacy organizations are fostering tangible improvements to the quality of life of cities from Rome to Savannah. Now is the time for Georgia to invest in safe, healthy, economically vibrant communities.”

The BFS program is more than an annual assessment. Throughout the year, League staff will work actively with state officials and advocacy leaders to help Georgia identify and implement the programs, policies and campaigns that will improve conditions for bicyclists.

Learn more about the BFS program here.

About the Bicycle Friendly America Program

The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs are generously supported by program partner Trek Bicycle. Learn more about the Bicycle Friendly America program at www.bikeleague.org/bfa
 

 

8 Fascinating Facts about Bicycling and Walking in the US

This blog post is shared with permission from the Alliance for Biking and Walking:

 

Today is the launch of the brand new 2014 Alliance Benchmarking Report, a massive report filled with data and research on walking and bicycling in all 50 states, 52 of the most populous cities, and 17 midsized cities.


Cover preview.png

The Alliance produces the Benchmarking Report every two years in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Community Design Initiative. Our goal: to comprehensively examine bicycling and walking transportation across the U.S. and how these trends relate to public health, safety, and social and economic well being. Benchmarking is a particularly helpful approach to active transportation issues because it allows comparison among states and cities while also measuring national trends. Our report looks not only at bicycling and walking levels, but a suite of related trends, like crash fatalities, weekly physical activity, transportation costs, air quality, and economic growth.

 

Want to check it out for yourself? Download the report here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a TON of really fascinating data in this year’s Alliance Benchmarking Report. Here’s our peek at the eight most interesting data points.

 

1. There are smaller percentages of bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities where there are more people biking and walking.

 

Generally speaking, bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities are a smaller percentage of roadway deaths in cities where there are more people who bike and walk to work. It could well be that if a city - or state - wants to reduce biking and walking fatalities, they should encourage more people to bike and walk -- perhaps through better infrastructure.



2. People are healthier in states where more people bike and walk.

 

Getting more people out on the street biking and walking means more people meeting daily recommendations for physical activity. There's a relationship between a state population's physical activity levels and its levels of bicycling and walking.


 

Accordingly, the states where fewer people have diabetes also tend to be the states where more people bike and walk.




 

3. A large percentage of commuters bike and walk to work in Alaska, Oregon, Montana, New York, and Vermont.

 

Not so much in South Carolina, Atlanta, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. Here’s a map of bicycling and walking levels by state across the country:


4. The percentage of people bicycling and walking to work is increasing, and cities and states are paying attention.

 

Overall, we're seeing slow but steady increases in the number of people biking and walking in the United States.

 

5. Overall, biking and walking fatality rates have been decreasing for decades.

 

Fatality rates for bicyclists and walkers are on the decrease, with slight upticks in the last several years.

 

6. Very little federal funding goes towards making bicycling and walking safer, compared to number of trips taken and number of people who lose their lives while biking or walking.

 

Unfortunately, this is not a new statistic, but it holds true today. There's a significant disparity between walking and biking modeshare (i.e. the percentage of trips that are taken by bike or on foot), walking and biking fatalities as a portion of all on-road fatalities, and federal funding for walking and biking. Congress tends to fund roadway infrastructure rather than sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes.


7. Most cities and states understand that biking and walking are important and are setting goals to improve safety for non-motorized travelers.

 

Here’s some good news: our state and local governments want to help us walk and bike more.

 

This makes a lot of sense. Public health improvements depend in a big way on increasing levels of physical activity. Plus, most city and state populations are growing, but land mass size is staying the same. Making all modes of transportation safe and accessible will better accommodate higher population densities.



 

8. More people tend to bike or walk to work when their state and city have strong biking and walking advocacy.

As a coalition of state and local biking & walking advocacy organizations, we’re pretty excited about people working together to make communities better. And it turns out there’s hard data behind this work. Data show a positive correlation between the number of people who bike and walk to work in a city and the incomes and staff sizes of those cities’ biking & walking advocacy organizations. Strong advocacy means strong active commuting!



 

Diagonal parking: Head 1st, or back that thing up?

If you've ever ridden in the downtown business district of pretty much any city in Georgia, you have inevitably run the gauntlet of diagonal on-street car parking. 

Front-end diagonal parking is the bane of all urban roadway users, not just people on bikes (though it's especially dangerous for us). For the sake of an extra half-second of convenience when entering a parking spot in a motor vehicle, we have sacrificed the safety of everyone else using the street.

Your typical scene of a motorist leaving a diagonal parking spot: the driver strains akwardly over their shoulder to see through the rear end of the truck next door, then blindly reverses into the street... hopefully not into the path of a hapless bicyclist or inattentive motorist.

Fortunately, cities across the country have discovered a simple adjustment to diagonal parking that improves safety and maintains motor vehicle parking space: Instead of driving into the space head first, back it up.

While it may seem strange, parking in a reverse angled spot is no different from parking in a parallel parking space. In fact, reverse angle parking requires fewer steps and is less complicated than parallel parking, a technique pretty much all drivers have learned and one that many execute on a daily basis.

Pictured are an example of reverse angle parking in GA (3rd St in Macon) and a view from your perspective as a bicyclist on a similar road. 

Notice how easy it is for the motorist to see you and make eye contact. They are much more likely to see you in this situation than when reversing. 

Reverse angle parking is clearly preferable for the safety of people on bikes, but it has numerous benefits for motorists as well:

* No more reversing blindly into oncoming traffic

* Loading and unloading trunks would occur at the sidewalk instead of in the middle of the street

* Children entering and exiting motor vehicles would be shielded from traffic by open doors

* Reverse angle parking is easier than parallel parking, which we already accept as a necessary driving skill

 

 

Below are studies and resources from across the country about implementing reverse angle parking:

 
 
 
 
 
 

Subcategories

Subscribe to the Blog