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Wheels of a Different Kind

WHEELS OF A DIFFERENT KIND

In the past decade, the number of people commuting to work by bicycle has increased by almost 60%. This is the largest increase for any commuting mode of transportation tracked by the 2000 Census and the 2008-2012 American Community Survey. The proliferation of bike share programs and the emergence of dedicated bicycle lanes in major city thoroughfares have made commuting to work by bicycle a feasible, fun, and safe alternative to driving.

The city in the country with the highest bicycle commuting rate is Portland, Ore. Thanks to Portland’s many bicycle lanes and its wide sidewalks, fully 6.1% of all of its commuters bike to work. Washington, D.C. is not far behind, with 4.5% of its commuters bicycling to work. Washington, D.C. started the first bike share program in North America, and it continues to foster bicycling with protected bike lanes around the city—including one in the heart of the District on Pennsylvania Avenue. In San Francisco, the mass transit system accommodates bicycles, so commuters who may need to enter and exit at points along their commute, or who may want or need to commute only part of the way to their job may do so. Seattle, Washington, has a high bicycle commuting rate largely due to active lobbying by the Seattle-based nonprofit Cascade Bicycle Club. The Cascade Bicycle Club successfully brought a bike share program to Seattle, persuaded the city to designate bike lanes, and even got the state legislature to impose harsher penalties for motorists who hit bicyclists.

Although Atlanta is not in the ranks of Portland or D.C. for its bicycle commuting rate, it has made a strong commitment to bicycling. In 2013, Mayor Kasim Reed vowed to make Atlanta a “top 10 city for bike riders by 2016.” While that did not quite happen, progress nonetheless did: a transportation bond was approved, $32 million of which is designated for completing streets and bikeways; a position of “Bike Czar” was created, funded and a person to fill the position was appointed; and there is a protected bike lane on downtown’s Peachtree Center Avenue. Proof that Atlanta’s roadways can and will support more than motor vehicle traffic are the crowds of 100,000+ that city-funded open streets events draw.

BIKING BASICS

There are many benefits to bicycling to work, such as lowering stress, getting great exercise, being eco-friendly, saving money on gas and parking, and in many cases saving time by avoiding traffic jams and time spent looking for a place to park. However, bicycling to work comes with risks, especially since not all roadways have protected bike lanes—or even bike lanes at all—and many drivers still do not share the road easily or willingly with cyclists. To make the bicycle commute to work safer, follow these tips:

  1. Use protected bike lanes and bike paths/trails whenever possible;
  2. Wear a helmet!
  3. Put lights on the bicycle and wear hi-vis clothing;
  4. Form bike trains, which are groups of bikers set up along a commuting route much like a carpool; there is safety in numbers—and also sociability

CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY

If you or someone you know has been injured while bicycling, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free consultation regarding your legal rights.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

Phone: (678) 264-8348.
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