GA ranks 45th in nation for bicycle and pedestrian safety - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

GA ranks 45th in nation for bicycle and pedestrian safety

From Georgia Bikes

Georgia ranks 45th among states for bicycling and pedestrian safety, according to a report released today by the Alliance for Biking & Walking.

"Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2012 Benchmarking Report" shows that while 0.2% of work trips in Georgia are by bicycle or foot, bicyclists and pedestrians account for 1.3% of traffic fatalities in the Georgia.

Lack of investment in bicycling and walking could be to blame. While 12 percent of trips in the U.S. are by bike or foot, 14 percent of traffic fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians, and pedestrian and bicycle projects receive less than 2 percent of federal transportation dollars.

 "A much greater investment is needed in biking and walking to increase active transportation," says Jeffrey Miller, Alliance President/CEO. "The Benchmarking Report shows that biking and walking are smart and cost-effective solutions that will pay for themselves many times over in healthcare savings and impact on local economies."

Georgia spends just 1.75% of its federal transportation dollars on biking and walking. This amounts to just $2.50 per person.

"Since 1990, Georgia has witnessed a 111% increase in the popularity of cycling, for both recreation and transportation, but, as a state, we fail to capitalize on available funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, which create jobs, improve property values, and promote physical activity," said Brent Buice, Executive Director of Georgia Bikes.

Last year, Georgia Bikes and the University of Georgia conducted a statewide survey, which found overwhelming support for better bicycling accommodations and conditions among adult Georgians. This March, Georgia Bikes will co-host the 7th annual Ride to the Capitol event, bringing thousands of riders to the gold dome in Atlanta to rally for more funding and a top-down commitment to safe and accessible active transportation options.

While lack of investment in bicycling and walking has caused thousands of preventable deaths across the U.S., many Georgia communities are waking up to the many benefits of encouraging walking and bicycling.

Recent headlines out of Atlanta demonstrate a strong push toward sustainability and safer streets for all users.

Gainesville recently announced a new bicycle and pedestrian path that will link Gainesville State to the rest of the community, while Columbus, Savannah, and Augusta are also making headway to improving safety and access for walkers and cyclists.

 In 2011, Athens-Clarke County and Tybee Island joined Roswell as Georgia's newest official "Bicycle Friendly Communities." Several other cities, including Conyers and Peachtree City, are pursuing this designation as well.

"The benefits to Georgia of increased biking and walking are clear: better quality of life, sustainable economic activity, and improved public health, an important consideration for a state with almost a third of its adult population considered obese," says Buice. "We know what we need to do and how to do it. We just need leadership that places a higher priority on walking and biking in Georgia."

 "Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.: 2012 Benchmarking Report" was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through additional support from AARP and Planet Bike. For more information and to download the report visit www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/benchmarking.

Georgia Bikes is a nonprofit organization working to improve bicycling conditions throughout the state. Georgia Bikes promotes bicycling as a healthy, economical form of recreation and transportation. For more information, visit http://georgiabikes.org.

 

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