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cycling

Alison Guillory / WABE

Atlanta is a car city. That’s how the roads are built. Transit is limited. There hasn’t been a strong network of paths for day-to-day cycling. Things are spread out.

But voters have approved spending on changing the city’s transportation infrastructure in a bond package last year and a sales tax last week.

Now big changes are coming to some of Atlanta’s major roads, in the form of an urban planning idea called complete streets.

Bill Ruhsam / flickr.com/bruhsam

Nearly 170 traffic fatalities in Georgia involved pedestrians last year.

That’s according to a report from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

MedlockPark.org

A Fulton County grand jury has indicted Joseph Alan Lewis on eleven counts in the hit-and-run of Atlanta cyclist Greg Germani.

One of the charges against Lewis, criminal attempt to commit murder, is seldom used in Georgia courts. WABE legal analyst Page Pate says prosecutors rarely levy that charge because it is so hard to prove. “You can’t reach inside the defendant’s mind to determine what he was thinking at the time,” says Pate, “so you look to what he did.”

Cullen Boudreaux / via Facebook.com/WABE

In 2014, Bicycling Magazine rated New York City the No. 1 city in America for bike friendliness. Atlanta did not enter the top 10, nor has it ever.

What’s changed is that now, it wants to. Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration announced a goal of becoming a top 10 cycling city by 2016, and began to make strides toward that goal. 

Georgia Tech

In early October, 2013, sponsors of a bill that would have imposed a license fee on bicycles decided not to go forward with the legislation.  They had heard loud protests from bicyclists during a public hearing in Gainesville.

Although the bill appears to be dead, the tension between drivers and bicyclists remains in some areas of the state.  That raises the question of how drivers, cyclists and civil authorities can make the roads safer for everyone.

Three state lawmakers are proposing a new law that would require you to buy a license plate for your bicycle and could restrict where you are allowed to ride that bike.

Gainesville state representative Carl Rogers is one of the sponsors of House Bill 689. He says he has gotten hundreds of complaints about bicycles on the road, but his primary concern is safety, telling WABE,“Certain areas of Georgia, where there’s a lot of growth, a lot of population, and lot of traffic, it’s become a real issue.”

Catherine Mullins

Atlanta’s first two-way bike lane is now under construction near Piedmont Park. The lanes on 10th street will eventually connect cyclists from the Beltline to Peachtree Street in Midtown.

Riding a red commuter bike, Cecilia Trode, a senior at Georgia State, was on her way to class. She says she usually avoids the larger, more-trafficked roads.

“It’s just more fun to find smaller side street ways, so you don’t have to deal with angry drivers. People going fast, people passing you with less than 3 feet – it’s not very comfortable, "Trode says.

U.S. cities such as Boston and New York have launched bike share programs. And Atlanta may not be far behind.

Through a bike share, the city would provide bikes residents could use for a fee. And riders could decide on the spot if they feel like riding a bike, according to Dr. Kari Watkins, an engineering professor at Georgia Tech.