The Georgia Bikes Blog

A Few (of the Many) Reasons We Need Community-Centered Schools

Having turned 50 last year, I can speak with some authority on the “good old days,” because I’m now officially good and old.  And in my childhood one of the really good things was having the freedom to walk and especially bike just about wherever I wanted to go. While I didn’t always want to go to school, I did always get there under my own power. Okay, not in sub-zero conditions – my parents showed pity for me on those mornings, if at no other time. I grew up in Iowa and every winter it got plenty cold, but the vast majority of the time I walked or biked to school, and everywhere else.

So I don’t need to be convinced that one of the absolutely beautiful things about neighborhood-centered schools is that they enable children to get daily exercise and experience the freedom that comes from walking and biking. Face it, no freedom comes from sitting in a tin box driven by parents or some stressed-out bus driver. And kids who grow up moving around under their own power are fairly likely to continue doing so as adults. If you wonder why childhood obesity rates are soaring, one clear reason is that fewer and fewer children are walking and biking to school.

Of course these days many children live too far from their schools to have options. A startling statistic is that approximately $20 billion is spent every year busing some 25 million children to school. If my math is correct that’s about $800 per child, or nearly $4.50 per school day (assuming a 180-day school year), money that would be better spent on education rather than transportation. Add in what’s spent by those parents who drive their children to school and we’re talking a tremendous amount of money.

Exercise, freedom and transportation savings -- just three reasons we need to work for community-centered schools. There are many others, all worth thinking about and convincing decision-makers to comprehend.

- John Kissane

Why we should preserve historic schools

Have you ever wondered why it is important to preserve historic schools? Or more importantly why the schools were sited within a community center?  Historic schools are typically sited in centers of town where most students traditionally walked, or rode bicycles to school. Shouldn't county education boards site more schools where students can take advantage of accessability? If you are interested in learning more about Georgia's historic schools please visit the Georgia Historic Preservation Division link here http://gashpo.org/content/displaycontent.asp?txtDocument=147 For more information about national success with community centered schools please visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation links at  http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/historic-schools/success-stories.html

Leigh Burns
Preservation Planner & Certified Local Government Coordinator

Historic Preservation Division/DNR
254 Washington Street, SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

404.651.5181
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information about the Georgia Historic Preservation Division please see our website at www.gashpo.org

Bike MS @ 25: special registration promotion for the Bike MS: Cox Atlanta Ride 2011

From our friends at Bike MS:

bike ms logo

Celebrating 25 Years of Bike MS in Georgia!

Registration Starting at Just $1

February 1-25, 2011

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Bike MS in Georgia, the National MS Society is offering a special registration promotion for the Bike MS: Cox Atlanta Ride 2011.

Register February 1st-25th for a dollar more each day.  Register on February 1st and you pay just $1.  Register on February 10th and pay $10, the 21st you pay $21…

Registration will be $50 starting March 1, 2011.
Event will be held on Sept 17-18 at Callaway Gardens.

REGISTER TODAY AT www.bikeMSgeorgia.org


Sixth Annual “Georgia Rides to the Capitol” event

Georgia Rides to Capitol 2011 registration is live! Register today, and tell your friends!

Below is the official press release for the event:

Metro Atlanta City Officials to Ride Again for Improved Bicycle Conditions

ATLANTA—On March 22, 2011 the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association (MAMA) will co-sponsor the Sixth Annual “Georgia Rides to the Capitol” event to raise support for the development of a regional-scale bicycle network of both on-road facilities and multi-use-trails, and cycling connections focused around major transit facilities, activity centers and schools.

Metro-area mayors and council members are encouraged to participate in the bike ride, which will have routes departing from the cities of Decatur and Roswell. There will also be a three-block ceremonial ride from Hurt Park in the city of Atlanta to the Capitol. Last year, more than 30 metro-area mayors and council members participated in the bike ride.

“The ride to the Capitol is my favorite bicycle ride of the year,” said Roswell Mayor Jere Wood, who will lead the bicycle ride from Roswell. “It’s not only fun, it’s a great way to demonstrate to the state that there is strong support for bicycling in Georgia.”

“Transportation is not just moving cars, it’s about moving people,” said Decatur City Commissioner Fred Boykin, owner of Bicycle South and one of the event organizers. “The majority of vehicle trips are less than two miles which is an easy distance to bicycle. If we can keep improving our local infrastructure to make it safe and appealing to cycle instead of drive, then we can help reduce congestion, improve our air quality and encourage a healthy way to travel.”

During the current legislative session, the bike ride’s top sponsor Georgia Bikes! is again pushing for passage of a "Three Foot Safe Passing" bill, similar to last year's HB 988, according to the organization’s new Executive Director Brent Buice.

“A "Three Foot Safe Passing" law would improve the safety of Georgia’s roadways by educating motorists on the minimum safe distance for passing bicyclists,” Buice said. “When promoted, publicized and enforced, this law will greatly lessen the risk of cyclists being hit by passing cars in Georgia. We will be joining fifteen other states, including Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, which have already adopted a similar law.”

More than 1,000 bike enthusiasts are expected to join the ride that will culminate in a press conference on the Capitol steps with metro mayors and council members, state legislators and other state officials highlighting the importance of funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and other alternative forms of transportation.

“The Georgia Rides to the Capitol event will once again clearly demonstrate to Georgia's legislators that improved safety on public roadways demands passage of this bill. More broadly, this event underscores the need for a comprehensive effort to improve bicycling conditions throughout the state,” Buice said. “Better biking facilities, plus the safer environment fostered by a "Three Foot Safe Passing" law, will lead to higher rates of bicycling. More people bicycling, more often, is good for Georgia's economy, its health, and its quality of life!"

The bike ride is free and open to the public. Bicyclists are estimated to arrive at the Capitol at 11:40 a.m. The estimated departure times for originating cities are: Decatur at 10:45 a.m. and Roswell at 9:45 a.m.

Municipal officials who wish to join the ride should contact Aileen Harris via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and indicate which route he or she wishes to join. Loaner bicycles are available for the Decatur and ceremonial rides; contact Aileen for details.

For more information and to register, visit www.GeorgiaRidesToTheCapitol.org.


Contacts:                               

Political Contact: Aileen Harris                            Event Contact: Fred Boykin                  

 Metro Atlanta Mayors Association                    Bicycle South

 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 678-686-6293                   404.668.4274

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

"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!

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