A few quick thoughts about the state rankings published by the League of American Bicyclists that came out earlier in the week.
GA is ranked 19th, same place we were in 2017 the last time there was a report card. For perspective, we were 40th 8 years ago and 49th 10 years ago.
- Here is the blog post with all the necessary links: New Bicycle Friendly State Ranking Shows Progress But Perils Persist
- And our state report card: BFS Report Card: Georgia (PDF)
- Sean Keenan wrote an article for Curbed Atlanta that is worth a read:Georgia ranks 19th on national list of most bike-friendly states
These sorts of statewide issues are very much our wheelhouse so please reach out if you are doing stories on state bike/ped funding, GDOT policy etc. We can be reached here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Funding and Planning
It’s clear from our grades that funding and planning are challenges, as well as collecting data on planned/built bike and ped facilities. Yes, we live in a big state and those numbers are hard to track, but we have GDOT Districts and Regional Commissions who can help in that regard. Use of federal funds and dedicated state funds also can be improved — not every jurisdiction can pay for bike/ped projects and multi-use trails with TSPLOST/SPLOST dollars. And many small, less wealthy communities cannot afford a 10 percent match on a $1 million project.
Legislation and Enforcement
We are going to specifically ask about the grade on laws that restrict the behavior of people biking/walking; a D+ is not a passing grade in our book. We can push for better policy at the legislature in this area, no question, with equity as a guide in our work around enforcement.
We’ve already shared these rankings with our partners at GDOT and look forward to working with them on how to not just improve our grade but how to improve conditions for people biking, walking, and rolling to get to work, school, businesses, transit, or for health and fun.
While these grades are all relative to other states and seem a tad abstract, the consequences of lack of attention to crucial active transportation issues are matters of life/death, especially for vulnerable communities.
Bicycling is exciting, joyful, and brings us a sense of hope. But no one should fear not making it home to family because they walk, ride a bicycle, or roll in a wheelchair. It’s on us to help change that reality at the state level and we welcome suggestions on how to move forward.