Sixth Annual Georgia Rides to the Capitol

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.