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Georgia Legislators Have Bikes on their Mind

How could they not, after more than 1,500 cyclists rallied on the steps of the capitol building on Tuesday!

The Georgia Rides to the Capitol event hosted by Georgia Bikes! is an annual demonstration of the widespread support for better bicycling conditions and opportunities. Last year’s ride resulted in state legislators passing a three-foot safe passing law. This year, Georgia advocates are looking to:

  • Implement a statewide Complete Streets policy (working with state Sen. Butch Miller)
  • Secure a fair share of dedicated funding for bicycle facilities and
  • Continue to protect the legal rights of cyclists

“Between the sea of smiling bicycle advocates and the enthusiastic crowd of local and state elected officials, it’s clear that the time is right for Georgia to become a more bicycle-friendly state,” said Brent Buice, Executive Director of Georgia Bikes!

Brent Buice, Executive Director of Georgia Bikes!

Cyclists were joined by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, a prominent supporter of the safe passing law, as well as Gerald Ross, GDOT’s Chief Engineer and Harris Blackwood, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

More than 30 mayors and city council members from 25 municipalities across the state also participated in the ride. “[Tuesday’s event] was an experience I will never forget in my life and I hope to be able to join again next year,” said Hoschton Mayor Erma Denney.

The Metro Atlanta Mayor’s Association was one of many sponsors that showed their support for bicycling. “For our members, bicycling is a quality of life, health, and public safety issue,” said Aileen Harris, Communications Associate.

Events like Georgia Rides to the Capitol are an excellent way to show elected officials just who they’re talking about when they debate bicycling issues. They give cyclists and legislators (not mutually exclusive terms!) something to look forward to all year. Check out the League’s State Bike Summit Guide for step-by-step instructions and ideas for hosting conferences, rallies, and lobbying days in your state.

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Cyclists making the trek from Roswell (Georgia’s first Bicycle Friendly Community) to Atlanta. Video by Mike Harmon

Elsewhere in cycling advocacy this week…

  • The League of Michigan Bicyclists (LMB) delivered their bicycles on passenger rail petition to Amtrak Chairman Thomas Carper at the Michigan Transportation Odyssey. More than 2,500 Michiganders signed the petition calling for Amtrak to implement roll-on bike service on passenger trains in the state. Carper noted Amtrak’s commitment to such service, but only as new rail cars are purchased in the next two to five years across the Midwest (sounds to me like Mr. Carper is asking for a Midwest-wide petition!).
  • Rhode Island legislators are reviewing a vulnerable road user law, known as “Frank’s law,” in the Ocean State. The House Committee on Judiciary voted Tuesday to hold the bill for “further study.” Similar bills are under consideration in Connecticut and Massachusetts.


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