The Georgia Bikes Blog

Safe Routes to Schools Staff Highlight

 

 

Georgia Bikes is a statewide organization that works across Georgia to support communities in creating environments that are appropriate for smart bicycling.  Our work requires collaborations with many organizations and individuals who are local and involved to see this vision accomplished.  Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Resource Center in Georgia works in five regions across the state; North, Southwest, Metro Atlanta, Coastal, and East Central, with a dedicate staff member in these areas.  There are a number of available resources and services communities are about to receive free of charge to make their school communities a safer, fun, and well designed environments for everyone to have the option to bicycle.  

Here is an interview with the newest member to the team, Marielena Gutierrez, she works in Metro Atlanta, covering Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton.  She works in the position formerly held by Nichole Hollis.  If your school community is looking to get students walking and biking to school or different ways to increase physical activity during the school, this interview will cover the services offered and how to make contact with SRTS Georgia.

What is your position with SRTS?  What do you do?

I am Marielena Gutierrez and am an Outreach Coordinator with SRTS in Metro Atlanta serving Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton counties.  I encourage students and schools to walk or bike in a safe way.  Our project is based on the Six Es which are:

Engineering

Encouragement

Education

Evaluation

Enforcement

Equity

I coordinate events like International Walk to School Day or “I Walk”, help schools coordinate making safe routes with planners, engineers, and schools to increase safety, provide materials and resources free to partner schools, attend career days, visit after-school programs and libraries, and give the “Crossing Award” to crossing guards.  Additionally I work closely with School Champions who are either staff, parents or school liasion, who coordinate events in schools.  

 

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

Working directly with children is the most rewarding.  When I am out and able to teach something, seeing them enjoy learning makes me happy!  I enjoy serving communities regardless of status and getting parents involved.  The goal is to build a new generation and we are planting the seeds for that growth towards more active lifestyles.

 

What parts of your role do you feel add the most value to the school community?

Everything is important!  Education however is the key.  Events can be adopted on a weekly or monthly basis, it all depends on the school’s commitment level to making progress.  It is exciting and schools benefit more when they are more engaged in the events and more active.

 

What are ways you think school communities must change to make them safer environments for students to walk or ride a bike?

This is also a combination of everything!  Children must be educated to have knowledge about safety.  Drivers also need more information because many are not aware of the dangers.  Speed control which is a design and engineering issue must also be addressed.  Without any changes, there will be more crashes on school campuses.  All the pieces together are important.

 

How can schools get involved with SRTS?

It is easy!  Schools, parents, teachers may contact the Resource Center by calling, emailing; all the information is on the website.  http://saferoutesga.org/content/georgia-regions

 

What are some successes you’ve had this year?

There was a high number of participants and participating schools in “I Walk/” International Walk to School Day this year.  A total of 61 schools in DeKalb, Clayton, and Fulton in both elementary and middle school.  The City of Decatur had a high participation and Westchester Elementary had a total of 77% students participate in “Walk and Roll”, their version of “I Walk”. That made them won the “Golden Shoe Award”.  We are also reaching the Hispanic community.  This year I was able to provide information in Spanish to students in assemblies and classes about safety.

 

What do you do when not working?

I like to go to the gym, to cook, eating, hanging out going to concerts, festivals and being with friends and family!

Be Savvy During Your Winter Rides!

  

Winter finally hit Georgia with sub-freezing temperatures and a wintery mix of rain!  This change in weather does not mean one must give up bicycling, however, it does mean casual summer rides are over. There are many lists of “to-do” and gear suggestions, here is a list of “to-do” and a few sites to follow up for more information.

 

  1.  Basic layering skills with the idea to maintain core body heat is a must as well as finding gloves and shoes that will both insulate and keep the extremities dry!   
  2. Staying hydrated is always a must even when the sun lies lower on the horizon.  Insulate beverages to maintain heat and retard being frozen.
  3. Light your bike up!  With longer nights and more inclement weather, lights keep one visible.  Ride bright and with joy!
  4. Carry extra gear, including clothing socks and gloves, tube and patches, lights and heat packs, for yourself or a friend.
  5.  

Find winter clothing suggestions are bountiful!  There is a hack for every price point.  Here are some key suggestions for any wallet.

  1. Wool is your friend. Cotton is not.  Keep a base layer closest to your body that wicks away moisture.  Add various layers of thickness both on top and bottom.  And an outer shell that is water resistant. 
  2. Gloves can also be layered and non-sport specific.  In other words, find a pair of wool gloves and layer under a more water-resistant glove.
  3. Keep your head covered, 40-45% of body heat escapes through our heads! 
  4.  

Bike riding position and bike maintenance will keep your riding throughout the year.  Winter bicycling conditions are different than in warmer and dryer weather.  With the addition of water, snow and accumulated slush, taking the lane and not riding near the curb will keep you up-right and riding more predictably.  Bicycle maintenance in winter means after every ride, clean the drive train (i.e. chain rings, cassette, chain) and free it of moisture, dirt, and debris.  After cleaning, grease the chain with lube.  And finally wipe off your brakes, brake pads and tire rim.

 

Winter riding can be fun!  Finding out what works for you and your bike is the start to enjoying bicycling throughout the year.  Here are a few sites for more information and suggestions.  What are your winter biking tips for either the commuter or recreational rider?

https://www.bicycling.com/training/tips/9-dos-and-donts-of-winter-cycling/slide/10

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/winter-bicycling.html

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/winter.html

Recent Inquiries on Bicycle Safety

The choice to ride a bicycle is being made by more and more people across the state of Georgia. People are riding for a multitude of reasons: daily commuting and transportation, health and wellness, recreation and tourism, as well as to be social with their friend, neighbors, and community. Many of these riders are coming back after a long time off a bicycle and others are first-timers.

With these parameters, the need for bicycle education is important for both those on bicycles and those driving. Roadway safety is an evergreen topic! A few commonly unknown or misunderstood laws are described below.

On way to center bicycling is to recognize that “Bicycles are vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities on public roads as motor vehicles” [40-1-1(15, 75)].

This changed since many of us were children on bicycles. “Bicycles must travel in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic, even when in a designated bike lane” [40-6-294(f)].

As things go, cycling is social, “Bicyclists may lawfully ride two-abreast” [40-6-294].

When it comes to use of bike lanes, “Bicycle lanes are set aside for preferential use by bicyclists. Bicyclists are not required to ride in a bike lane just because it exists. In general, use a bike lane when it is safe and convenient to do so based on your destination.”

 For motorized vehicles drivers (cars, trucks, transport trucks, etc.) there are several that maybe unfamiliar to you as they address how to drive with a bicycle present on the road. “Obstructing a bike lane or multi-use path is a misdemeanor [16-11-43]. Working in conjunction, “aggressive driving is considered a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature in Georgia.” When passing a person on a bicycle, there is a right and wrong way to pass. “The operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance between such vehicle and the bicycle and shall maintain such clearance until safely passed the overtaken bicycle. The term ‘safe distance; means not less than three feet” [40-6-56]. To achieve distance of three feet, “cars may cross a solid yellow centerline to pass a cyclist if the oncoming lane is clear and it is safe to pass” [40-6-46(c)].

And finally, cyclists who violate traffic laws will be subject to the same penalties as drivers of motor vehicles, except that no penalty shall be assessed against a cyclist’s motor vehicle driver’s license.

Keep these in mind as they address most situations, however, there are more laws and standards of bicycling that any rider will be held accountable of. To find out more about laws, expectations and safe bicycling practices, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a copy of our Bicyclist Pocket Guide. We will ship the amount of copies requested. Be smart and have fun!

Press Release - 2017 Georgia Bike Summit p/b Bike Law GA Sept 29-Oct 1 in Macon, GA

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Contact:

Elliott Caldwell
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 706.740-2453

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

8th annual Georgia Bike Summit Highlights Health Economic Benefits of Bicycling, Renewed Focus on Bicycle Safety

Macon, Ga. – Georgia Bikes, a nonprofit organization working to promote and improve bicycling throughout Georgia, is hosting its eighth annual statewide conference, the Georgia Bike Summit presented by Bike Law Georgia, from September 29 to October 1 in Macon. The Saturday conference will take place at the Macon Marriott City Center, with other events taking place across Macon during the weekend, including Open Streets Macon on Sunday October 1. Under the theme of “Bikes at the Heart of Safety, Health, and Opportunity”, the 2017 Georgia Bike Summit will convene elected officials, transportation and tourism professionals, community leaders and citizen advocates for a weekend of networking and resource sharing.

Each year, the Georgia Bike Summit takes place in a different community in Georgia. The Summit moves in order to expose more communities to the benefits of being bicycle-friendly. Macon was selected as the host for the 2017 Summit because of the progress it is making in being more friendly to people on bicycles, from the founding of Bike Walk Macon (the first bicycle/pedestrian advocacy organization in the city) to Zagster Bikeshare to the continued development of the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail to Macon Connects, the world’s longest pop-up bike lane network. “Macon is on its way to becoming a bike town and we are very excited to be a part of that evolution,” says Elliott Caldwell, Georgia Bikes’ Executive Director. “Rachel Hollar and Bike Walk Macon are leading the way for safe and complete streets, creating a more bikeable and walkable Macon for all its residents and visitors alike – we are glad to bring the 2017 Georgia Bike Summit to a city on the move,” he adds

During the Summit, workshops and speakers will address policy, funding, and infrastructure issues that can help communities interested in sustainable development and improved quality of life. The main conference occurs on Saturday, September 30th, and will feature workshops on topics such as creative funding for bicycle infrastructure to local youth bicycle programming to the health benefits of bikeshare. Summit sponsor Newtown Macon will lead a demonstration of setting up a pop-up bike lane (similar to Macon Connects) on Saturday morning outside the Macon Marriott City Center on Coliseum Drive. The Saturday main speaker is Nedra Deadwyler, Safety Education Programs Manager with Georgia Bikes and founder of Civil Bikes in Atlanta; she will engage the attendees on re-thinking bike education at the state level. Summit attendees can attend Bike Walk Macon’s Open Streets Macon event on Sunday from 2-6pm, starting at the corner of Montpelier Avenue and College Street.

For more information about the Summit, including registration information, visit GeorgiaBikes.org

2017 Georgia Bike Summit in Macon, GA - Sept 29-Oct 1

   

2017 Georgia Bike Summit presented by Bike Law Georgia

   When - September 29-October 1

    Where - Macon, GA - Marriot City Center as host hotel with events happening through out the city

    Who - All bicycle advocates and friends from across Georgia and beyond!   

    Registration - Registration is live! Go here

Schedule of Events:

    Friday night -  6:30PM - Casual ride/bicycle tour of Macon with Bike Walk Macon, meet at Just Tap'd - 488 1st Street in downtown Macon. We will have bikes available for attendees who can't bring their own.  Can't make it to the ride? We will return to Just Tap'd at 7:30PM for a pre-Summit social event. 

    Saturday - 8AM-10AM - Pop-up bike lane installation (connecting the Marriott City Center to downtown Macon) with Newtown Macon

                    - All day program at Marriott City Center with speakers, presenters, dynamic conversations, and informative tabling

                    - 8:30PM - Unwind after the day's sessions at the Bearfoot Tavern (468 2nd St). We'll have a private room for Summit attendees to relax and catch up.

    Sunday - Join Bike Walk Macon and others in Macon for Open Streets Macon 

Sponsorship Opportunities

There are opporttunities for sponsors at all levels - please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a sponsor packet. 

Presentations

10:30AM Session # 1

Thinking Outside the Lane: Creative Bike/Ped Funding Sources - Colin Moore, Grant Writer, City of Jacksonville, FL

Strategic Partnerships/Collaboration - Erik Speakman, Speakman Consulting

Bicycle Coops/Recycling Programs - Lessons Learned + Challenges from Athens and Milledgeville - Tyler Dewey and Scott Long, BikeAthens and Bryce Shows, Coop De Ville

 

11:30AM Session #2

Current Trends - Better Biking Through Pop Ups - Ian Sansom, Alta Planning + Design

Incorporating Bicycling Into Community Events + Festivals - Charise Stephens, Georgia Wellness and FItness Festival

Club Leadership in Advocacy – Let’s Role with it! - Keith Larson, SouthSide Cycling Club)

 

1:15 Main Session -  Let's Revamp Bike Ed! - Nedra Deadwyler, Georgia Bikes + Civil Bikes

 

2:15 PM Session #3

Youth Engagement of the Local Macon Community - Fletcher Batts, Cycles and Change Macon

Roswell to Macon: The Local case for Regional Connectivity - Nathan Sears, Bike Roswell Ride Director, Bike Roswell

The Health Benefits of Bike Share – A First Hand Perspective; Steven Cousins, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

 

3:35 PM Session #4

Suburban Bicycle Advocacy – Small Budget, Big Dreams; Dennis Carman, Bike Alpharetta

Considerations for Cycling Events: Insurance, Safety, and Participant Satisfaction; James Parks,  James C. Parks, Jr. Attorneys at Law, LLC

Bicycle Safety 101/Step 1 - Own a Bike?  - Chelsea Carter, Georgia Safe Routes to Schools Resource Center 

 

Registration

Registration is live! Go here

Host Hotel

Book special room rates at the host hotel, Macon Marriott City Center, here

Scholarships/Financial Assistance

Georgia Bikes wants all people to attend the 2017 Georgia Bike Summit, regardless of income level or access to resources. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information about financial assistance. 

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Presenting Sponsor

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Sponsors

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OUR TOWN. YOUR TOWN. NEWTOWN. DOWNTOWN. 

 

 

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In Partnership With

 

 

Bike Walk Macon

 

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Since 2010, Georgia Bikes is proud to present our statewide annual conference for advocates and professionals to gather, network and collaborate to help our state continue to be a better & safer place for people to ride a bike. If you're interested in learning about our past seven bike summit events, check them out here

The Georgia Bike Summit is taking place in conjunction with Bike Walk Macon's Open Streets event on Sunday October 1st. More info about that event here

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