Bicycling is not a dangerous activity, but we live in a state where road design and roadway behavior can lead to tragedy.
As 2013 draws to a close, let us remember all of the Georgians, and visitors to Georgia, who have lost their lives while riding a bicycle. This year, bicyclists represent 2.4% of all traffic fatalities in the state, and the total number of bicyclists killed on our roadways has been rising since 2011. With your help, we will reverse this disturbing trend and create a Georgia where all roadway users are confident that they can safely return home to their friends and family.
Every incident reflected above is different, and pinpointing “blame” can be slippery, but we do know a few things for certain:
- Both motorist and bicyclist behavior can contribute to dangerous situations that lead to tragedy.
If you’re driving a motor vehicle, pay attention to driving the motor vehicle. A moment’s inattention transforms a car or truck into a devastating weapon. Give cyclists at least three feet when passing (or following), and if it’s not safe to pass, don’t. A few seconds delay is worth saving a life, every time.
When traveling by bicycle, ride predictably, and make every possible effort to increase your visibility with hi-vis clothing and bright front and rear lights, even in the daytime. Choose your routes carefully, and, whenever possible, opt for roads with low-speed traffic, good sight-lines, and quality bike facilities. If roads are too narrow to share safely with automobiles, take the lane to increase your visibility. Ride defensively.
- The single best way to improve bicyclist safety long-term is to get more people riding. The more people on bikes that motorists see, the more likely they’ll be courteous and careful when following, passing, or turning.
- The best way to accomplish #2 is to create safe, welcoming bicycling conditions for all ages, skill-levels and abilities. Physically separated lanes, aggressive intersection treatments, pavement markings, convenient bike parking and bike boulevards are proven approaches to increasing ridership.
- The best way to address #1 and accomplish #3 is through informed, strategic bicycle advocacy. Support your local organization, donate to or join Georgia Bikes, and, if federal policy is your thing, support the League of American Bicyclists, too. We’re all working to make sure that Georgia is a safe, inviting place for all types of bicycling.