Can Atlanta Become a Bicyclist's Paradise?
Cars rule the roadways in Atlanta, but can you imagine a parking deck for bikes instead of cars?
During a recent vacation overseas, I had the opportunity to explore the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
The history and architecture of the city and its network of canals struck me.
But I was also struck by how bike-friendly it is and how motorists, street trolleys and cyclists share the roads in peaceful coexistence.
So when I saw this multi-story parking deck, it struck me how far Atlanta has yet to go in terms of bike-friendliness.
My traveling friend remarked we'd never see something like that here.
I have to agree.
As someone who loves bike riding and have done so in several states and countries, I've never done so in Atlanta.
When I first moved to Atlanta in 2000 I considered buying a bike to ride around.
But after seeing some interesting exchanges between motorists and cyclists, I reconsidered.
One particularly standout incident happened near the Edgewood Avenue and Boulevard intersection not long after I moved here.
A motorist headed west on Edgewood wanted to turn left to go north on Boulevard.
There was a cyclist in front of the driver's pick-up truck waiting for the light to change to cross the intersection.
The incensed driver kept honking his horn with the cyclist looking back with a quizzical look and pointing toward to the intersection to convey that he wasn't going to pull up into oncoming traffic just because the driver couldn't wait for the light to change.
So the driver nudged up a little and hit his bike with his bumper.
So much for sharing the road, I thought.
Still, there's hope for change.
Several groups in metro Atlanta are pushing for more bike awareness and use.
The Clean Air Campaign, along with the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, for example, are pushing the first-ever Bike to Work Challenge during October.
The monthlong effort is designed to get commuters more comfortable with the idea that they can bike to work.
As an incentive, the Challenge offers points they can redeem toward gift cards and other prizes.
As part of the Challenge, riders will get tips on bicycle commuting, have the chance to participate in “Confident City Cycling” classes and learn about local cycling groups and online communities to join.