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Monday, January 22, 2007

Bikes primed for comeback in Atlanta

From the Atlanta Journal-Consitution, 01.16.07:

Bikes primed for comeback
If Atlanta makes room, expect more pedalers

I have a dream. That one day the streets of Atlanta will look (something) like the streets of Peking in days gone by...Imagine if you will, an Atlanta with bicycle lanes four and five feet wide, clearly marked with heavy paint, and perhaps alternate surfacing, on both sides of nearly every major street...The popularity of bicycling has seen a definite upsurge, and there are bicycles on the market for every pocketbook and level of fitness and skill.

If we built a truly extensive network of well-marked, safe bike lanes, the numbers of Atlantans who would opt to cycle would be more than just "significant." The numbers would be huge.

It's no great leap to imagine the positive impact this would have on air quality, not to mention physical health and the quality of our urban life. (Read more.)
If you build it, they will come. This is certainly the experience in San Francisco, where the streets have become far more bike friendly in the past 15 years, resulting in a doubling in the use of bicycles for transportation. There is no reason to doubt that even sprawling Atlanta couldn't see an increase in bicycling activity if it commits to more bicyclist-friendly streets.

The hopeful vision for Atlanta expressed in this op-ed by Karl Terrell could become a reality, with a push from bike advocates.

Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


ckdake said...

More discussion about this here amd here.

The bike community in Atlanta seems to be growing and now could be the perfect time for infrastructure improvements to make bike commuting explode in popularity.

Phil said...

I thought this was a great and timely article -- unfortunately, we still have stuff like this:

with Cobb county attempting to pass what is essentially an anti-bicycle law. I was even more amazed by the comments after the article (many of the early comments are no longer shown). One comment read, "Cyclists should be banned from public roads altogether. They are a hazard and a saftey risk." Another comment was, "I’ve had it with these arrogant F*%’s not moving over... Guess who’s going win when it’s my Expedition and Glock against those limp wristers?"


Jett said...

I also see more cyclists in Atlanta. I’ve been riding Atlanta's streets since 1979 and things have changed a lot. The PATH Foundation, where my wife works, has made great strides in providing places that encourage new riders to get out there. (They are mighty nice for us older riders as well). We may not yet have an extensive network of trails, but the network is growing.

One drawback to segregating cyclists and motorists is segregation perpetuates the idea that a cyclist doesn’t belong on the road. As much as I love the PATH trails, I find that as a competent cyclist, the road is often safer.

Georgia traffic laws recognize bicycles as vehicles subject to the same rules of the road as motorized vehicles. Learning to ride with traffic, comparable to learning to operate a car, will get more cyclists on the road faster than we can build segregated cycling facilities. The Atlanta Bicycle Campaign offers Effective Cycling classes which teach cyclists how to co-operate with motorists for the greater enjoyment of all. I encourage all cyclists and those considering cycling to take advantage of this fine resource we have here in Atlanta.

I hope we can continue this discussion.