Athens Named a Bicycle Friendly Community by National Organization

Athens was one of six Georgia communities, including Savannah, a new entrant, that made the list.

Athens is a bike-friendly community.
Athens is a bike-friendly community.
When in comes to cycling, enthusiasts will say Georgia — unlike California, Colorado and Oregon — leaves much to be desired with respect to taking action to make it safer and easier.

But there are pockets of enlightenment when comes to biking in Georgia, with Athens among them.

So says the League of American Bicyclists, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, which released its annual list of Bicycle Friendly Communities this week.

Athens was one of six Georgia communities, including Savannah, a new entrant, that made the list.

The list of communities is divided into three levels: gold, silver and bronze, the last category being the one in which the Georgia cities all ranked.

Besides Athens, these are the other Georgia communities on the League's list:
  • Savannah
  • Decatur
  • Roswell
  • Tybee Island
  • Jekyll Island

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Melissa Link October 23, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Now if Athens only followed its adopted future transportation map and preserved connective rail-trail corridors, and if we only stuck to our Complete Streets Policy & considered bike lanes with every street reconstruction, we might find ourselves taking home silver or gold.... An ideal opportunity for connectivity between in-town neighborhoods as well as for Greenway/Firefly access is being squandered in not considering bike lanes through downtown as part of the Clayton St. restreetscaping plan--to the detriment of our downtown businesses as well. Study after study indicates that bike lanes increase revenue along commercial corridors & inviting cyclists into the heart of our downtown could only have a positive affect on the business community. Can't we do better than Roswell???
Rebecca McCarthy October 23, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Melissa, I sure hope so.
Mary-Eleanor Joyce October 24, 2013 at 09:31 AM
I love when Athens is recognized, but this seems quite odd. The number of cyclists that have been hit just in the past 2 years is staggering, given our small population...
Rebecca McCarthy October 24, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Mary-Eleanor, I think the organization that handed out the designations looked at bike lanes, bike paths (like the Greenway) and other metrics that didn't involve car crashes with cyclists. I think we're on the right track, but I would call Athens "bike tolerant" not friendly.
Melissa Link October 24, 2013 at 10:43 AM
I'm betting they initially looked at policies. Athens has pretty good bike policies: a Bicycle Master Plan, a Future Transportation Corridor Map that includes rail-trails, plans for Greenway completion, Complete Streets Policy. Problem is, when the opportunities arise to actually implement these, ACC powers-that-be are most likely to crumble to the interests of Big Development & an autocentism than to actually implement those policies & make for a truly useful, interconnective, & safe bike network throughout our community. Those with the most influence on our local gov are most opposed to a auto-free future. Case in point: our newest local GA Dept of Transportation rep (who happens to be one of the Mayor's closest advisors--she has appointed him to multiple transportation & development committees) is a commercial real estate broker who profits immensely from large-scale auto-centric development interests. His family made their fortune in the oil business and continues to run one of the region's largest fuel distribution companies. With folks like that holding the reins of our local transportation, there is little hope for Athens to break free from overwhelming dependence on the car.


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