Augusta's push to be more bike-friendly to get boost with October summit

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Augusta’s push to become more bicycle-friendly is expected to get a boost when it plays host to the Georgia Bike Summit in October.

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Outspokin' Bicycles employee German Chavarria works on a bike at the shop on Walton Way.   Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
Outspokin' Bicycles employee German Chavarria works on a bike at the shop on Walton Way.

The fall event, which brings together about 200 state transportation officials and cycling advocates, will also include members of South Carolina bicycle groups for the first time.

The summit is just one feature of a yearlong education campaign planned by Wheel Movement, which was formed in Augusta last May with seed money from the Athens-based nonprofit Georgia Bikes! Randy DuTeau, the board president, said the nonprofit took its time in 2011 forming a mission statement and establishing a board of directors to maximize its impact in 2012.

A membership drive in December was the forerunner of what DuTeau calls an “intensive” education campaign that starts in the spring. The idea is to bridge the misunderstandings between motorists and cyclists.

“Not only do we share the concerns (of motorists), but we are proactively trying to do something about it,” DuTeau said.

Two cyclists – Matt Burke and Dan Dickinson, both doctors at Fort Gordon’s Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center – died in 2011 after they were hit from behind by a vehicle. A third cyclist, Ernest Tanner, is recovering from brain injuries after he was hit in August on Tobacco Road.

Christian Lentz, the board’s vice president, said cycling education is the main effort of Wheel Movement. The goal is to not only ensure that motorists know how to legally pass a cyclist, but also make sure cyclists are demonstrating proper etiquette and following the law.

Cyclists breaking the law “is one of the criticisms we often hear, so we’re taking responsibility for ourselves. We’re going to do our part to make sure they’re obeying the rules of the road,” Lentz said.

One of the greatest challenges faced by Wheel Movement is finding the cyclists who aren’t riding for sport. DuTeau said Wheel Movement isn’t intended to be just for the clique of cyclists who gather at pro shops, but all cyclists. Their safety is just as important, DuTeau said.

“That’s going to be a tough job,” he said.

Brent Buice, the executive director of Georgia Bikes!, said he is excited about the progress and initiative shown by Augusta’s Wheel Movement. Between the steps Wheel Movement is making in Augusta and the city’s proximity to South Carolina, “it makes a lot of sense to have (the summit) in Augusta,” he said.

Comments (24) Add comment
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Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 01/05/12 - 11:56 am
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Count on my support.

Count on my support.

Just My Opinion
6298
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Just My Opinion 01/05/12 - 12:12 pm
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Great. Yet one more thing

Great. Yet one more thing that the average citizen will have shoved down our throats. I hate having a cyclists on the road with cars. Don't worry...I will ALWAYS respect their prescence and do what I can to pass them safely. I just hate that we have to squeeze our large and deadly automobiles beside their insanely unstable and unpredictable bicycles. Ask ANY cyclist and they will tell you that it takes only one small pebble, or one small unseen pothole to tip them over! Add to the fact that many cyclists do NOT obey the rules of traffic that the rest of us do. Now, am I uneducated or am I being realistic?

broadPOV
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broadPOV 01/05/12 - 12:27 pm
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As a cyclist AND car driver,

As a cyclist AND car driver, I appreciate that movements such as this are taking place. Everyone needs to be more aware of their surroundings while on the open road and courteous to those around them.

As much as some people hate to share the road with cyclists, respect that cyclists are granted the same rights to use public roadways as vehicles by law and that people thuroughly enjoy the hobby. You won't find me purposefully interrupting your fishing or hunting expedition.

Having said that, cyclists must remember that they are obliged to follow the same rules as everyone else while riding public roads and that by not doing so they are only risking their own health and safety.

broadPOV
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broadPOV 01/05/12 - 12:29 pm
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Just My Opinion - as a

Just My Opinion - as a cyclist of 6+ years, I have yet to be tipped up by a pothole or a pebble (hope I'm not jinxing myself). My bike is actually very stable and maneuverable.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 01/05/12 - 12:30 pm
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"some crude argument about

"some crude argument about mass and how a car could easily wipe out a bike"

Just My Opinion
6298
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Just My Opinion 01/05/12 - 12:38 pm
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broadPOV, I agree with you in

broadPOV, I agree with you in that I hope you didn't jinx youself! Be careful out there!

Dixieman
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Dixieman 01/05/12 - 12:49 pm
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I do not jog or ride my bike

I do not jog or ride my bike or even walk on the side of any public road anywhere.
There are pleasanter ways to commit suicide.
This is a foolish conference and foolish idea.
The laws of physics mean you will die in any argument with a car or truck.

allhans
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allhans 01/05/12 - 02:40 pm
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I don't understand why anyone

I don't understand why anyone would argue about this subject. Every large city has cyclists riding in the heaviest traffic imaginable. We need to get with the times and start moving our butts a little.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 01/05/12 - 02:50 pm
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Cycling is detrimental to

Cycling is detrimental to species survival.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBziYkyrzJQ

floridasun
381
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floridasun 01/05/12 - 04:07 pm
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Augusta loves the status

Augusta loves the status quo
Its one of the fattest cities in America
Love me some barbecue and the all you can eat buffet

Willow Bailey
20605
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Willow Bailey 01/05/12 - 04:22 pm
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This is a very positive

This is a very positive thing.

Willow Bailey
20605
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Willow Bailey 01/05/12 - 04:44 pm
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Actually, flordiasun, what

Actually, flordiasun, what you said about Augusta isn't true.

madgerman
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madgerman 01/05/12 - 04:39 pm
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If I am not mistaken it is
Unpublished

If I am not mistaken it is illegal to be traveling 15 MPH under the posted speed limit. I also think Tobacco road speed limit is 45 MPH so if a cyclist can maintain a speed of at least 30 MPH and has tail, turn and head lights I have no problem. I really see no reason for another class for drivers to learn gow to pass cycles, Just make sure they are in their proper lane and maintaining the posted speed. BTW shouldn't they also have insurance in case they damage a car?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 01/05/12 - 04:39 pm
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Willow, about those fattest

Willow, about those fattest people you have ever seen, what were they wearing? I just want to visualize it. Thongs...while they walked in rhythm...left right, left right.?

Willow Bailey
20605
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Willow Bailey 01/05/12 - 04:59 pm
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haha, River, I was sneaking

haha, River, I was sneaking back over to take that down. And you caught me! sigh, What I said just wasn't nice; though, this Georgia/Carolina girl doesn't like florida's comments.

kiwiinamerica
984
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kiwiinamerica 01/05/12 - 05:04 pm
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Dixieman is right. You folk
Unpublished

Dixieman is right. You folk must have a death wish. I don't feel safe in a motor vehicle, still less on a thin metal frame which is light enough to carry on my shoulder. You might as well walk in traffic as ride a bicycle. The result will be the same if there's a collision. This has nothing to do with being fat. If you want to lose weight, then join a gym, watch your diet and get out in your yard and cut your grass in the middle of summer. That won't put you in harms way like wobbling along Walton Way on a bicycle during peak periods.

As for the rights of cyclists, there needs to be some sort of public discussion about the best way to cater to their needs. Cycleways or cycle lanes are used in a number of places. There's an expense involved of course but they at least help to separate two very different modes of transport.

dstewartsr
20393
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dstewartsr 01/05/12 - 05:38 pm
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I've lived in all those

I've lived in all those countries that have bicycles everywhere; there, as well as here, it is nothing short of hair-raising to share the roads with vehicles using the operator as a crash absorbing device. They do it mostly because that road is pretty much the only way to go; there are no other secondary routes available and cycles do not do rice paddies or mountain drop-offs very well.

There are streets in the area which are conducive to bike lanes; designating Wrightsboro Road, a two-lane, 55 mph, high-crowned, no-shoulder except a drainage ditch, as such defies all common sense. As does anyone who'd use it.

TakeAHike
191
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TakeAHike 01/05/12 - 06:02 pm
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The strife that these

The strife that these comments document clearly demonstrates that this summit and working towards the objectives of Wheel Movement are both necessary and overdue.

Willow Bailey
20605
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Willow Bailey 01/05/12 - 06:58 pm
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I think so, TakeAHike.

I think so, TakeAHike.

Pu239
284
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Pu239 01/05/12 - 07:39 pm
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WB did you know this about
Unpublished

WB did you know this about Florida....it's the 8th most DENSELY populated state in the union….

Willow Bailey
20605
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Willow Bailey 01/05/12 - 08:05 pm
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Good one, Pu.

Good one, Pu.

DannyX
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DannyX 01/05/12 - 09:15 pm
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I'd like to point out that

I'd like to point out that those who ride a lot get to eat all they want and not get fat. I've placed myself on the anvil of experiment there and promise you, the way I eat, if I didn't ride I would weight five thousand pounds. Thanks to a post above, as soon as I finish posting this I'm going out for barbecue.

Also, in a car you can go almost as fast as you want on the interstate. There are no at-grade crossings, lanes 12 feet wide, ten-foot shoulders, a big wide median, and the damn things take up 15 acres per mile (all 46,000 miles of them, in the US). That's a lot of land being taken up so you can get places fast. I don't see as how those of us who love to drive have a lot of room to be gripey little princesses about having to slow down sometimes on the smaller roads. We've been catered to plenty.

A few bikes on the road doesn't mess with anybody else's ability to transport themselves in luxurious comfort. We all pay for the roads. I put in my share of miles in the saddle and behind the wheel, and most of the trouble and rage I've experienced with regard to both types of transport sharing the road have been on the internet.

If conflict between cyclists and motorists happened the roads as much it does on the internet, they'd be paved with crushed bone and the surface sealed with blood.

DannyX
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DannyX 01/05/12 - 09:52 pm
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@madgerman: You're right, a

@madgerman: You're right, a person's blood could mess up your paint job, and their helmet could put a scratch on it. Then where would you be? How would you drive to court, with your car so messed up?

Willow Bailey
20605
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Willow Bailey 01/06/12 - 10:31 am
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The conference is a good

The conference is a good thing. I hope much understanding is gained and it helps to save lives. Every person has value and every life matters.
Mutual respect for others should be the goal.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 01/06/12 - 11:31 am
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More bike-friendly focus =

More bike-friendly focus = good
More roads crowded w/ bikes and autos = danger

I don't know where the middle-ground is on this. I am always looking for angles though, so I would suggest a bike race be sponsored or brought to Augusta. They do them in Athens alot. Fun time for spectators and lets those boiling over to ride their bikes do so in controlled road conditions. I'd say downtown is about perfect, pretty flat, lots of viewing areas. Commence to laying waste on my suggestions at will. Or remain silent to show your support for this.

burninater
9943
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burninater 01/06/12 - 12:08 pm
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madgerman, the GA code

madgerman, the GA code doesn't give a specific number like 15 MPH below:

Minimum Speed Limit: I. No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. 40-6-184(a)(1)

As this code is written, it's left to a law enforcement agent's discretion to determine if a vehicle is impeding normal and reasonable traffic flow. Since in most cases, cyclists allow ample room for an overtaking vehicle to safely pass them on the left, I think you would be hard-pressed to demonstrate that a cyclist was impeding traffic solely as a result of their speed. I'm not saying you don't occasionally have people far into a lane going far too slow, but that's usually not the case.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 01/06/12 - 03:10 pm
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i'll note that the above law

i'll note that the above law that burn supplied applies only to MOTOR vehicles, share the road! The life/reputation/conscience you save may be your own (remember the Beech Island driver)

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