In 2006, Bicycling magazine named Atlanta the worst city for cyclists. The world's premiere cycling magazine cited "growing car use" and "declining facilities for cyclists" as major reasons for Atlanta's poor showing.
Photo Credit: MyAJC.com
But in the decade since those rankings were published, the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition has worked tirelessly to turn back the politics and policies that often lead to this type of notoriety on the world stage. We know Atlanta can be a great bike city, which is why we advocate for bike infrastructure, bike policies, and organize eye-opening initiatives like Atlanta Streets Alive, our award-winning Open Streets event.
Just last year, we brokered the half-million dollar deal with the City of Atlanta to hire its first-ever Chief Bicycle Officer, funded partially by the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation.
Earlier this year, we celebrated the launch of Atlanta's first Bike Share system, Relay Bike Share, which is expanding to 50 stations and 500 bikes by the end of 2016.
Not only are the Chief Bicycle Office, Bike Share, and Atlanta Streets Alive transformational projects that are changing our city, but they're the result of years of advocacy and hard work made possible by members of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
We kicked off Atlanta Streets Alive in 2010, when we had approximately 500 members, to give people an opportunity to reclaim our most valuable public space - our streets, even if only for a few hours. The freedom to move through our streets and connect with neighbors unencumbered by car traffic unlocked the potential of our roads and showcased the demand for bike lanes. The success of Streets Alive has led to attendance rates in the hundreds of thousands per year. That's hundreds of thousands of potential advocates who want streets that serve everyone, not just cars.
The idea for the Chief Bicycle Officer took root in 2012, when we had roughly 700 members, when Boston’s former bike czar, Nicole Freedman, participated in a local Arthur M. Blank Foundation Speaker Series called Better Biking for a Safer, Healthier, More Competitive City.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition spearheaded the Bike Share Feasibility Study in 2013, when we had close to 900 members, to prove to city officials and stakeholders that bike share could benefit Atlanta's transportation needs.
As our membership base grew -- we're now at 1500 members -- so did our initiatives and influence.
So it came as no surprise to us when we learned that Atlanta would be named a Top 50 Best Bike City in the latest issue of Bicycling magazine.
"Proclamations come easy," writes Bicycling's Ian Dille. "Success requires dogged determination." That's what we give you as your voice for better biking.
But, like you, we want more for Atlanta and for all the people who bike and would like to bike in our city. We want to be a Top Ten city for cycling - not just on paper, but on the streets where you ride.
That's why we're campaigning for protected bike lanes on Peachtree Street, Atlanta's signature street. We launched a new crowd-source map to document blocked bike lanes for our Unblock the Lane campaign. And that's why we advocated for the TSPLOST funds to be split between the Atlanta BeltLine and citywide bike, walk, and Complete Streets projects.
We can get there. But we need you.
Join the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition!
When you join before our last Atlanta Streets Alive of the year on October 23, you will be entered to win a free Seal 500 Electric Bike from ElectroBike, commuter gear from Patagonia, or a bike commuter kit from Outback Bikes.