HB 101 Passes

May 11th – Gov Deal signed HB 101 into law. April 14th, 2011 – HB 101 was approved by the House 150-9 with a 3 Foot Safe Passing amendment from the Senate.

A sincere and heartfelt thank you to all who contacted a Rep or Senator these past few weeks, and many thanks to Rep Doug McKillip of Athens for his capable sponsorship of HB 101. Thank you to Rep. Doug Holt (112th) for co-sponsoring the bill in the House. Thanks to Senator John Albers of Roswell for his addition of the three foot passing language, and thanks also to Senator Bill Cowsert (Athens) for his sponsorship of the bill in the Senate.

For the voting record, as well as the final and previous versions of the bill, go here.

Gov. Deal to Sign HB 101

Just in time for National Bike Month, Georgia’s roads will soon be safer for its many bicyclists. On May 11th, Governor Nathan Deal will endorse efforts to improve bicycling conditions and road safety in Georgia by signing HB 101, “The Better Bicycling Bill,” into law.

At a 4:30 PM signing ceremony in his capitol building office, Governor Deal will enact HB 101, joined by Board members and staff from Georgia Bikes!, the statewide bicycling advocacy group who pushed for passage of the bill.

HB 101 modernizes a host of outdated bicycling laws in the state code and also implements a number of significant improvements for bicyclist and motorist safety. 101 makes lawful the sale and use of clipless pedals and recumbent-style bicycles, both popular and widely used in Georgia, which are technically illegal under the old code. Other changes include recognition of bicyclists’ right-of-way in dedicated bike lanes, establishing minimum design guidelines for bicycle lanes, and clarifying circumstances under which a cyclist may take the full travel lane due to unsafe conditions or obstructions.

Most significantly, however, a Senate amendment to the bill defines three feet as the minimum safe passing distance for motor vehicles overtaking cyclists. With the adoption of this law, Georgia joins sixteen other states that have made a “three foot passing” commitment to bicycling safety. Motor vehicles passing a cyclist too closely, known as “buzzing,” are a serious factor in causing bicycle crashes.

In a addition to the Governor and huge majorities of in the Senate and House,  Lt. Governor Casey Cagle strongly supported HB 101. “This legislation updates some of Georgia’s cycling laws and includes the critically important three-foot minimum passing distance requirement,” he says. “Under this new law, both cyclists and motorists will all be able to operate on Georgia’s roads more safely.”

Georgia Bikes’ Executive Director Brent Buice also applauds the enactment of bill, noting that “the three foot passing provision in HB 101 is a tremendous safety improvement for Georgia’s cyclists. HB 101 will help create the conditions that surveys show Georgians want: safer, more comfortable conditions for cycling.”

Three Georgia Cities Recognized as “Bicycle Friendly Communities”

Just in time for National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists unveiled its updated list of Bicycle Friendly Communities, and this year saw a tripling of Georgia cities on the list!

A resounding congratulations to Athens-Clarke County, Roswell, and Tybee Island, who were all recognized at the Bronze level for their commitments to improving bicycle facilities, safety, & enforcement! Roswell, for a time the state’s only designtaed BFC, is in good company with these recent additions.

Congratulations as well to  Peachtree City, which received an Honorable Mention for its efforts to incorporate bicycling into its transportation infrastructure, and to Emory University, recognized earlier this year as Georgia’s first (and only) Bicycle Friendly University.

Message of support from Lt. Gov. Casey Gagle

We received the encouraging and supportive message below from Lt. Governor Casey Cagle:

Friends,

Just a few weeks ago, I was honored to join you for the Georgia Municipal Association’s Georgia Rides to the Capitol bike ride. As an avid cyclist myself, I was excited to be with you to discuss critical issues relating to bike safety in Georgia.

While with you that morning, I committed to working to pass important cycling safety legislation. On the last day of the legislative session I saw an opportunity to amend HB 101 to include the “Three Foot Passing” language. I had the amendment drawn up and consulted with the committee chairman and bill author.  I’m proud to report that, thanks in part to your hard work, we were able to pass House Bill 101 on the final day of this
legislative session.

This legislation updates some of Georgia’s cycling laws and includes the critically important three-foot minimum passing distance requirement.  Under this new law, both cyclists and motorists will all be able to operate on Georgia’s roads more safely.

The last minute passage of this bill is yet another example of why it is so important that Georgia citizens are involved in the legislative process. I look forward to continuing to work with you to strengthen Georgia’s bike safety laws and on other issues of importance to you.

If my office can ever be helpful, I hope you’ll let us know.

Look forward to seeing you on the roads,

Casey Cagle

Lieutenant Governor

HB 101, with 3 Foot Passing amendment, up for final vote April 16

Georgia is poised to pass significant legislation that will dramatically improve safe cycling conditions in the state.

HB 101 is up for another vote today in the House of Representatives.

Due to modifications made in the Senate on April 12th, HB 101 is coming before the House of Representatives once more for approval of the bill with changes (known as an “agree” vote). Today is the final day of the 2011 legislative session.

In order for the bill to pass, it must receive at least 91 votes.You can watch the House broadcast live online, but please note that it’s any one’s guess as to when 101 will reach the floor for a vote ( some time between 9 am and midnight tonight).

Senate changes being voted upon include:

  • An amendment defining the minimum safe passing distance as three feet (introduced by Sen. John Albers of Roswell)
  • Removal of language prohibiting parking in bicycle lanes (In some areas, bicycle lanes have been inappropriately
    installed in on street parking areas. Georgia Bikes! plans to work on this issue.)
  • Removal of language requiring children under the age of 1 year to wear a helmet (no helmets are manufactured for
    this age group)

101 initially passed the House 93-73 and was sponsored by Rep Doug McKillip of Athens.

HB 101 Passed the Senate, with amendments, 47-4 and was sponsored by Senator Bill Cowsert, also from Athens.

For the latest & previous versions of the bill, click here.

HB 101- Better Bicycling bill update

Due to modifications made in the Senate yesterday, HB 101 must come before the House of Representatives once more before it can be signed by the Governor.

Senate changes include:

  • An amendment defining the minimum safe passing distance as three feet
  • Removal of language prohibiting parking in bicycle lanes (In some areas, bicycle lanes have been inappropriately installed in on street parking areas. Georgia Bikes! plans to work on this issue.)
  • Removal of language requiring children under the age of 1 year to wear a helmet (no helmets are manufactured for this age group)

Tomorrow, April 14th, is the final day of the 2011 legislative session. HB 101 will be called for an “agree” vote on the changes made. In order for the bill to pass, it must receive at least 91 votes. Please contact your state Representative NOW to urge their support of HB 101.

For a list of state Representatives, including their email address & how they voted on HB 101 the first time around, go here.

101 initially passed the House 93-73, so every vote truly counts! Thank you for taking a moment to get this important legislation over its final hurdle!

For the latest & previous versions of the bill, click here.

March 22nd’s 6th annual Georgia Rides to the Capitol was an incredible success!
Approximately 1800 cyclists of all ages and from around the state converged on the gold dome in downtown Atlanta to show support for better bicycling accommodations and safer cycling legislation.

Gov. Nathan Deal

More than 40 metro Atlanta mayors rode in the event, leading the
pack to the steps of the state capitol building.

Police escorted rides descended Atlanta from Roswell, currently Georgia’s
only Bicycle Friendly Community, and nearby Decatur.

Once arrived, cyclists were able to park their bikes and get snacks and refreshments thanks to the generous folks at Bike MS.

Notworthy speakers included the new GOHS Director, Harris Blackwood, as well as Vance Smith, GDOT Commissioner, and a host of supportive metro Atlanta mayors.

Georgia’s new Governor, Nathan Deal, spoke to the crowd about
his concern for childhood obesity and the need for more physical activity.
He concluded by affirming that he “supports our efforts.”

Many thanks to all of the event sponsors, MAMA, GMA, the guest speakers, and, of course, all of the riders who made the 2011 Ride to the Capitol a great success!


2011 National Bike Summit Report

In case you haven’t been keeping up with our Twitter posts (http://twitter.com/GABikes), last week your intrepid author joined fifteen fellow Georgians for his first National Bike Summit in Washington, DC.

 This year was the 10th NBS, featuring the elegant slogan “Acting on a simple solution.”

 The National Bike Summit is essentially a two and a half day event, with the first day dedicated to a series of panel discussions  and presentations on a wide range of issues related to bicycle advocacy, transportation policy, and best practices in both.

 Day two is the nitty gritty day of Congressional lobbying, where delegates from Georgia attended back-to-back meetings with Georgia’s Congressional representatives and both Senators.

 In these meetings, led by constituents whenever possible, we discussed the economic and public health benefits of investment in bicycle and pedestrian faciltiies for Georgia’s communities. Specifically, we asked that funding for Transportation EnahancementsSafe Routes to School, and Recreational Trail Programs not be cut when Congress considers a new transportation funding bill. These three programs represent the bulk of federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects in many communities, and any reduction in these programs would significantly reduce Georgia’s capacity to build the safe, comfortable, and convenient network of bike/ped faciltiies that we need to:
reduce obesity, improve quality of life, ease congestion, encourage tourism & business siting in Georgia, and increase residential property values.

 It was a great experience, and I strongly encourage any bicycle advocate, and especially bicycle retailers and manufacturers, to attend next year’s Summit if possible.

Additional photos from the 2011 NBS here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=400294495663&aid=334136

HB 180 – 3 Foot Safe Passing bill

AJC article about HB 180 not making it past “crossover” day. Even though it didn’t pass this year, HB180 will be eligible for discussion and a vote during next year’s session. Be sure you let your state Representative know your feelings about the “Tony Serrano Three Foot Passing Bill.”

9:30 PM, 3/16/11 – The House adjourned until Monday. HB 180 was not released by House Rules Committee and therefore did not come forth for a full House vote. We sincerely appreciate all of the efforts from Georgia’s cyclists in support of this bill. We will continue to push for this important safety legislation in future sessions. In the meantime, HB 101 did pass the House and will move into the Senate – watch for updates on getting the “Better Bicycling Bill” passed and enacted!Current version of HB 180. For your reference, we have an updated white paper on HB 180, the “Three Foot Safe Passing” bill.

Roswell Passes Resolution in support of HB 180!

Many, many thanks to the City Council of Roswell for the following Resolution in support of our “Three Foot Safe Passing” bill!

STATE OF GEORGIA

CITY OF ROSWELL

February 14, 2011

A RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 180, A PROPOSED AMENDMENT OF
THE OFFICIAL CODE OF GEORGIA ANNOTATED, TO PROVIDE FOR GREATER
AUTOMOBILE, PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLE SAFETY.

WHEREAS, the City of Roswell, Georgia is a Georgia municipal corporation; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council are the governing authority of the City; and

WHEREAS, Mayor and Council are charged with the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Roswell; and

WHEREAS, the City of Roswell is the first and currently only city in the State of Georgia
officially recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bicycle Friendly Community; and

WHEREAS, the City has invested in its infrastructure and seen a dramatic rise in the number of bicyclists in all areas of the City; and

WHEREAS, the increase in bicyclists and motorists using the same corridors could potentially pose a public safety concern; and

WHEREAS, Mayor and Council have reviewed proposed House Bill 180 currently before the State of Georgia General Assembly which provides for an amendment to Title 40, Chapter 6, Article 3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to driving on the right side of the roadways, overtaking and passing and following too closely, so as to require the operator of a motor vehicle to leave a safe
distance between such motor vehicle and a bicycle when such vehicle is passing the bicycle; to provide for a definition; and to provide for related matters; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council believe that House Bill 180, attached hereto and
incorporated by reference, is in the best interests of the citizens of the City of Roswell:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the City of Roswell,
Georgia, and it is hereby resolved by the authority of same, that the Mayor and Council of the City of Roswell hereby support House Bill 180 introduced in the 2011 Session of the Georgia General Assembly which provides for an amendment to amend Title 40, Chapter 6, Article 3 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, for the purpose of providing greater safety for bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians, and for
other purposes.

Let a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to all state legislators serving the City of Roswell.

The above resolution was read and approved by the Mayor and Council of the City of Roswell, Georgia on the 14th day of February, 2011.