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.”

Georgia Bikes seeks new executive director

Georgia Bikes is now accepting executive director applications from qualified individuals

Georgia Bikes is now accepting applications from qualified individuals who would like to serve as the full-time Executive Director. 

This is a salaried, FLSA-exempt position based in Georgia.

About Georgia Bikes

Georgia Bikes is the statewide bicycle advocacy organization in Georgia with a mission to unite people and organizations to improve bicycling conditions and promote equitable bicycling throughout the state. 

Job Duties and Qualifications

The Executive Director of Georgia Bikes is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the organization. Preferred candidates will be experienced with a wide range of leadership skills.

For a complete listing of the job duties and qualifications, please see this document

A successful Executive Director will be able to effectively guide staff, stakeholders, and allies in the implementation of the organization’s goals and objectives. 

The incoming Executive Director will be charged with leading implementation of the current strategic action plan as well as plan for a new strategic plan in 2022. Please read the current strategic plan here

 

Salary and Benefits

Salary range for the position $60,000-65,000 a year. The position has flexible hours and office location; the Executive Director can use a home office. Twelve paid holiday days a year and fifteen of paid vacation with a flexible paid sick leave policy. Assistance with healthcare expenses available.  

Location and Travel

The Executive Director must live in Georgia and can be based out of any city or community; current staff are located in Savannah and Athens. Out-of-state applicants are welcome but must be able to relocate to Georgia in an expedited manner.  

As this job includes state legislative and policy work, applicants must be able to get to metro Atlanta regularly for in-person meetings with legislators and state agency staff, especially during the legislative session (usually January-early April). 

Board and staff meetings are primarily held virtually as are some meetings with state partners and allies. However, statewide travel is a regular part of the position as many important events and meetings occur in a variety of locations across the state. 

How to Apply

Please send a statement of interest and qualifications as well as a resume via email to info@georgiabikes.org. The deadline is COB on Friday June 18th, 2021. 

Notification and Selection Process

Upon receipt of completed application, applicants will be notified of their status for further consideration.

Georgia Bikes provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Georgia Bikes complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

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.

U Create Macon student-athletes win national awards

U Create Macon student-athletes win national awards

When the National Interscholastic Cycling Association announced its annual awards on March 15, the U Create Macon team had reason to be proud. Actually, two reasons!

Richone Jackson won the Specialized Student-Athlete Leadership Award and Jaddarious Taylor received the GU Energy Extraordinary Courage Award. The awardees are members of the U Create Macon Bike Team and the Middle Georgia Composite Team, and are the only Georgians to bring home NICA awards.

“Richone and Jaddarrious were in disbelief that they won national awards. And when I told them there was a pool of over 25,000 students nationally, one of them got emotional,” said Charise Stephens, executive director of U Create Macon.

She jokingly said she can’t reveal which one, or else they may not speak to her again.

The NICA Awards are presented across eleven categories to individuals who have been nominated by their peers as the most outstanding student-athletes, dedicated coaches, and most supportive volunteers and sponsors that have contributed to the youth cycling movement during the past year.

Stephens said her students’ achievements have had an effect on their peers. 

 

“The announcement of the awards really inspired our kids,” she said. “Some of the U Create Macon kids in our program have never gotten an award and to see their teammates getting a national award inspired them.”

 

And it wasn’t just the students who have been heartened by their success.  

 

“To be quite honest, this award inspired the adults. We have come a long way from a club with borrowed bikes, to a team receiving national awards. I would have never thought it a million years that four people — Coach Lisa, Coach Janet, Ms. Gigi, and myself — could change our community like this,” she said. “These last two years have been magical.”

 

As news spread of the awards, interest in Stephens’ programs increased almost immediately.

 

“Since the announcement of the awards, we have gotten seven calls from parents wanting their kids to participate in our program. This momentum will be helpful as we are growing into We Bike GA chapters throughout Georgia,” she said. “Our goal is to continue to have more smiles by the mile and give every kid — no matter their financial situation — outdoor adventures.”

 

NICA President Steve Matous said, “The 2020 NICA Award recipients exemplify our mission of building strong minds, bodies, character and communities through interscholastic cycling. Even during a year when activities were restricted due to the pandemic, our student-athletes, coaches, volunteers and community found new and innovative ways to embrace our values and continue to bring NICA’s mission to our community. Through their involvement and contributions to their leagues, teams and the broader NICA community, each recipient has made a unique and profound impact.”

 

Similarly, Stephens said the U Create Macon students did not let the pandemic lessen their determination or dampen their creativity.

 

“Our goal with U Create Macon is for youths to ‘create’ their own future and this national NICA award shows that anything is possible,” she said. Our kids are dreaming bigger each day because of their love for cycling. It’s opening up a new world to them and our community will benefit from this for generations to come. Even with a global pandemic, our bike teams never stopped and our kids have flourished during these uncertain times.”

 

U Create’s success is truly the result of a team effort involving more than 20 volunteer coaches along with a dedicated group of SAG/general volunteers who support the mountain biking and road cycling programs year round.    

 

“Our volunteers have donated over 10,000 hours to the success of this program and their love shows in the accomplishments of our kids,” Stephens said. “It shows in their smiles.” 

 

While Stephens is proud of the recent awards, she said they are just getting started.

 

“So far our organization can say that we have NICA national winners, Positive Athlete regional winners, and our own awards ‘Middle Georgia Loves Bikes’ award for our students. We are looking forward to bringing more awards to Georgia,” she said.

 

Rumble strips ruining your ride? Use our new form to report them!

Form now available for reporting problematic rumble strips

Georgia Bikes is working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to identify state-maintained roads which can be improved to make them safer and more comfortable for people who ride bikes by correcting problematic rumble strips. Solutions could include the addition of rideable shoulders.

We have created a form which problematic rumble strips can be reported. Working with GDOT we will attempt to have the problems addressed during resurfacing and other road construction and maintenance projects. 

The reporting form page also includes resources from the the Adventure Cycling Association covering best practices and design guidelines that support bicyclist safety when installing rumble strips. We will be working with ACA and other partners — in addition to GDOT — on improving design standards and implementation outreach.

Organizing a cycling event? Here’s how to make it more successful and support Georgia Bikes at the same time!

Organizing a cycling event? Here's how to make it more successful and support Georgia Bikes at the same time!

Are you organizing a ride, race, or other event? Wouldn’t it be great for your event to have safer roads and drivers? Georgia Bikes is your voice for better bicycling in Georgia. Our mission is to improve bicycling conditions throughout the state.

Whether you’re planning a virtual or a physically distanced in-person event, you can support Georgia Bikes by donating a portion of registration fees to support our advocacy efforts. When you offer a Georgia Bikes supporting event, you’ll enjoy:

  • “Featured Event” status on our statewide calendar
  • Publicity for event on our website, social media channels, and email newsletter
  • Safety equipment — including road signs, volunteer vests, and two-way radios — to use at your event
  • Access to “Georgia Bikes Supporting Event” graphics to use on your promotional materials
  • Assistance with outreach to bike shops, cycling clubs, advocacy organizations, and other resources to spread the word about your event.

It’s a win-win: Your event will be more successful and will support our efforts to make streets safer and friendlier for people who ride bikes in Georgia.

Let’s send a big (virtual) delegation to the National Bike Summit

22nd Annual gathering of bicycle advocates will be held online Feb. 28-March 3

Members of the Georgia delegation at the 2018 National Bike Summit

The 2021 National Bike Summit will be held online again this year, making attendance more accessible and affordable for bicycle advocates in Georgia. League of American Bicyclists members qualify for a reduced registration rate. A Summit Youth Scholarship is available for attendees age 21 and under.

Programming for this year’s Summit will start around 1 p.m., each day permitting people from across the country tune in to take part in the movement, highlighted in this year’s theme of Bikes: Our Vehicle For Change. 

Program highlights so announced so far include:

  • A keynote presentation by thought leader and researcher Charles Brown, MPA, CPD, highlighting “the social, political, economic, and health impacts of racial disparities in transportation and examine the ways in which our approaches to transportation research, planning, policy, and design can and must be reimagined to achieve greater mobility, health, and quality of life for all road users.” Brown delivered the keynote at the 2018 Georgia Bike Summit.
  • A session on “Making Cars That Don’t Kill” featuring a discussion with author Angie Schmitt, David Zipperand Dara Baldwin with the Center for Disability Rights about the increasing size and deadliness of cars and trucks on our roads, plus ways advocates can push to make the safety of people outside of cars a priority in vehicle design.
  • A panel getting into the details about “Communicating Active Transportation Benefits to State DOTs” with insights from Toks Omishakin with CalTrans and Julie Harris with Bike Walk Nebraska. 

The summit also includes a virtual Lobby Day during which advocates will communicate with members of Congress, regional online social events, the first U.S. screening of We Cycle Together, and many more sessions on four tracks: Education, Engagement, Engineering, and Encouragement. The next secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation has also been invited to attend.

Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Awards Grant to Georgia Bikes

Macon, Ga. — Georgia Bikes is pleased to announce it has received a $69,655.63 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS).

The GOHS grant will fund the organization’s outreach and educational programs, which are produced in partnership with local organizations, nonprofits, and government agencies to reduce bicyclist injuries and fatalities.

“The loss of one life on our roads is one too many, and the fact almost all fatal traffic crashes can be prevented is one reason why we are awarding this grant,” Allen Poole, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety said. “The target of zero traffic deaths in our nation is achievable, and we will continue to help develop and implement educational messages, enforcement campaigns, and other safety initiatives aimed at bringing us one step closer to our goal.”

“Georgia Bikes is once again happy to be partnering with the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in 2020-2021,” said Georgia Bikes Executive Director Elliott Caldwell. “With so many people getting back on bikes this year from essential workers to retirees and everyone in-between, we’ve got a ton of work to do! We are thankful for the support of GOHS and look forward to a busy and productive grant year.”

The grant year for this award is Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021. In the early part of the pandemic, Georgia Bikes Safety Education Programs Manager John Bennett expanded the resources available on the organization’s website, including materials that can be used by parents and other caregivers to teach bike safety at home. Online safety quizzes for child and adult cyclists, drivers, and operators of buses and other large vehicles will be launched early in 2021. Bennett is continuing to support bicycle advocates, schools, universities, municipalities, and other organizations by providing bicycle safety materials and assisting in organizing safety events.

Georgia Bikes’ mission is to improve bicycling conditions and promote bicycling throughout the state of Georgia. Based in Macon, the nonprofit has offices in Athens and Savannah. Georgia Bikes organizes the annual Georgia Bike Summit, which has been held in cities around the state since 2009. The 2020 summit was held on line and attracted more than 150 participants.

For more information on this grant program, contact GOHS at 404-656-6996 and for more information on GOHS and its other highway safety programs, visit www.gahighwaysafety.org.