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Anti-cyclist policy in Atlanta?

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  • Claude Willey
    Cobb targets cyclists Fines up to $500 considered for riders who illegally use roads By CRAIG SCHNEIDER The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 01/23/07
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 23, 2007
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      Cobb targets cyclists
      Fines up to $500 considered for riders who illegally use roads

      By CRAIG SCHNEIDER
      The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
      Published on: 01/23/07

      Cyclists beware!

      Cobb County officials are considering setting up some legal
      roadblocks on one of the most popular places to ride in metro
      Atlanta, setting up fines up to $500.

      With its flat surface, wide shoulders and lack of parked cars,
      Columns Drive near Marietta draws dozens of cyclists on a nice day,
      including many who use the somewhat remote road as their training
      track, riding lap after lap up and down the 2 1/2 mile street.

      But angry residents who live along the road in upwards of million-
      dollar homes say the cyclists whip along the street three or more
      abreast, cutting off cars, robbing the roadway and scaring people
      even as they step out to check their mailbox.

      Tonight the county Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing
      on a "cruising" ordinance that would crack down on those who buzz
      back and forth along the road. The ordinance would fine anyone who
      rides past a given point twice in an hour.

      Biking advocates say the new law would effectively shut down the
      roadway to many riders. This would be the first such law in metro
      Atlanta, and possibly in the country, said Dennis Hoffarth, executive
      director of the advocacy group called The Atlanta Bicycle Campaign.
      And he believes any type of anti-cycling law would be a black eye to
      Atlanta.

      But residents who purchased homes along the Chattahoochee River say
      they've had enough of dangerous, inconsiderate and at time rude
      cyclists.

      "I'm talking about the speed bicyclist," said Paul McNulty, who has
      lived there about 17 years. "They'll go 30, 40, 50 miles per hour
      down Columns Drive. They want the drivers, the skaters, the walkers
      to get out of their way so they can have the whole road."

      Some cyclists exceed the speed limit of 25 mph, sidle up to cars and
      "thump" on the car to get it out of their way, residents say.

      "It's not being considerate, respectful or polite," McNulty said.

      The bicyclists, for their part, say they have a legal right to ride
      there, and that while there are a few bad apples, the groups in
      general try to be safe and respectful.

      "The cyclists have a right to the road," said Jim Hunt, 26, who has
      ridden the road two to three times a week for about five years. "I
      know that can be hard to swallow."

      He added, though, that cyclists have a responsibility to stay on the
      shoulder.

      In a sense, Columns Drive has become a victim of its own success, he
      said. On warm days, the shoulders can become congested with cyclists,
      joggers and walkers, and sometimes cyclists must enter into the road
      to avoid hitting some of them. He suggested the county consider
      adding sidewalks.

      Hunt added, "I hope everybody would be willing to compromise.
      Patience is a big part of it."

      Columns Road is among the safest routes for bike riding in metro
      Atlanta, and such places are few and far between, said Hoffarth of
      the Atlanta Bicycle Campaign. Consequently the road draws many riders
      from outside the area, which piques the homeowners even more.

      His group met with public officials, residents and riders in October
      to try to broker a resolution. He believes the proposed cruising
      ordinance smacks of selective enforcement against the riders.

      The law would fine a person $50 for the first violation, $100 for the
      second and $500 for the third within a year.

      Hoffarth said he has checked with biking groups across the country
      and none have heard of such a law. He foresees a backlash locally and
      nationally, asserting that metro Atlanta would look as though it were
      cracking down on a healthy recreational activity.

      "This could actually be an embarrassment across the country," he said.

      Cobb Commissioner Joe Thompson, who represents this area, said he
      will await the public comment before deciding on the ordinance.

      Some people involved with the issue are hoping the proposed ordinance
      is another attempt by the county to bring the warring parties
      together and create more compromise.

      At the same time, Thompson believes some sort of change is needed.

      "Columns Drive is simply not a park. It's a street in a subdivision,"
      Thompson said. "It creates sort of an unsafe situation."
    • Debra Efroymson
      This is even worse (and more ironic) than the article suggests. Atlanta is the home of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no? Which has
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 24, 2007
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        This is even worse (and more ironic) than the article
        suggests. Atlanta is the home of the Centers for
        Disease Control and Prevention, no? Which has
        highlighted that the second biggest cause of
        preventable disease in the US is lack of exercise...
        so it's not just recreation, but a major determinant
        of health, right in the hometown of the organization
        perhaps most important for health in the US. (Walking
        would be another great source of exercise, and you
        notice that there are no sidewalks on that street...)
        Way to go, Atlanta!
        Debra

        --- Claude Willey <claudewilley@...> wrote:

        > Cobb targets cyclists
        > Fines up to $500 considered for riders who illegally
        > use roads
        >
        > Hoffarth said he has checked with biking groups
        > across the country
        > and none have heard of such a law. He foresees a
        > backlash locally and
        > nationally, asserting that metro Atlanta would look
        > as though it were
        > cracking down on a healthy recreational activity.
        >
        > "This could actually be an embarrassment across the
        > country," he said.
        >




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      • Jack Barbour
        I m willing to bet the majority of riders cruising or racing along this 2.5 mile loop, arrived by car and will load their bikes and leave by car. The fact
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 24, 2007
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          I'm willing to bet the majority of riders cruising or racing along this
          2.5 mile loop, arrived by car and will load their bikes and leave by
          car. The fact that the article describes the road in this fashion
          suggests this, and the "drive, park and ride" nature is typical of the
          majority of the US new breed of cyclist. As a frequent visitor to
          Atlanta, I can attest to the fact that pedestrian and cycling concerns
          are not even a blip on the radar screens when it comes to community
          planning. I was staying in a hotel in Atlanta with a couple of
          co-worker and we were going out to dinner. Although the restaurant was
          only a couple of blocks away, my co-worker opted to drive while I
          walked. I arrived ten minutes before they did, since due to the lay out
          of the roads, they had to drive about 3-miles to go two blocks.

          Jack Barbour
          -----Original Message-----
          From: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
          [mailto:carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Debra Efroymson
          Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 8:47 AM
          To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Anti-cyclist policy in Atlanta?

          This is even worse (and more ironic) than the article
          suggests. Atlanta is the home of the Centers for
          Disease Control and Prevention, no? Which has
          highlighted that the second biggest cause of
          preventable disease in the US is lack of exercise...
          so it's not just recreation, but a major determinant
          of health, right in the hometown of the organization
          perhaps most important for health in the US. (Walking
          would be another great source of exercise, and you
          notice that there are no sidewalks on that street...)
          Way to go, Atlanta!
          Debra

          --- Claude Willey <claudewilley@ <mailto:claudewilley%40sbcglobal.net>
          sbcglobal.net> wrote:

          > Cobb targets cyclists
          > Fines up to $500 considered for riders who illegally
          > use roads
          >
          > Hoffarth said he has checked with biking groups
          > across the country
          > and none have heard of such a law. He foresees a
          > backlash locally and
          > nationally, asserting that metro Atlanta would look
          > as though it were
          > cracking down on a healthy recreational activity.
          >
          > "This could actually be an embarrassment across the
          > country," he said.
          >

          __________________________________________________________
          The fish are biting.
          Get more visitors on your site using Yahoo! Search Marketing.
          http://searchmarket
          <http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/arp/sponsoredsearch_v2.php>
          ing.yahoo.com/arp/sponsoredsearch_v2.php



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • c1ttad1no
          ... You can bet on it. This has nothing to do with either cities or transportation. The Atlanta suburbs are, in any case, mostly beyond repair; razing is the
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 24, 2007
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            --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Barbour"
            <bamacyclist@...> wrote:
            >
            > I'm willing to bet the majority of riders cruising or racing along this
            > 2.5 mile loop, arrived by car and will load their bikes and leave by
            > car. The fact that the article describes the road in this fashion
            > suggests this, and the "drive, park and ride" nature is typical of the
            > majority of the US new breed of cyclist.

            You can bet on it. This has nothing to do with either cities or
            transportation.

            The Atlanta suburbs are, in any case, mostly beyond repair; razing is
            the appropriate urban renewal solution. Fortunately, since winters
            are generally mild there, the debris will provide firewood for quite a
            long time.
          • Jym Dyer
            ... =v= At one point not long ago, the heaviest clearcutting in the South was not done for timber, it was to make room for Atlanta s sprawl. That debris
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 24, 2007
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              > The Atlanta suburbs are, in any case, mostly beyond
              > repair; razing is the appropriate urban renewal solution.
              > Fortunately, since winters are generally mild there, the
              > debris will provide firewood for quite a long time.

              =v= At one point not long ago, the heaviest clearcutting in the
              South was not done for timber, it was to make room for Atlanta's
              sprawl. That debris should become mulch for reforesting.
              <_Jym_>
            • Richard Risemberg
              ... Meanwhile, if you want a bit of encouraging news about the other kind of US cyclist (the two-percenters), see my site on urban transportational bicycling:
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 24, 2007
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                -----Original Message-----
                >From: c1ttad1no <doug@...>
                >Sent: Jan 24, 2007 9:58 AM
                >To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
                >Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Anti-cyclist policy in Atlanta?
                >
                >--- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Jack Barbour"
                ><bamacyclist@...> wrote:
                >>
                >> I'm willing to bet the majority of riders cruising or racing along this
                >> 2.5 mile loop, arrived by car and will load their bikes and leave by
                >> car. The fact that the article describes the road in this fashion
                >> suggests this, and the "drive, park and ride" nature is typical of the
                >> majority of the US new breed of cyclist.
                >
                >You can bet on it. This has nothing to do with either cities or
                >transportation.
                >
                Meanwhile, if you want a bit of encouraging news about the other kind of US cyclist (the two-percenters), see my site on urban transportational bicycling:

                http://www.bicyclefixation.com

                Rick Risemberg
              • Jack Barbour
                I don t remember the exact location, somewhere near Dunwoody I believe, but traffic was diverted for months a due to a new road and overpass being constructed.
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 24, 2007
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                  I don't remember the exact location, somewhere near Dunwoody I believe,
                  but traffic was diverted for months a due to a new road and overpass
                  being constructed. A couple of years later, traffic was still being
                  diverted, this time to have the road and overpass was being tore down to
                  make way for a new wider road and overpass. I don't believe the 1st one
                  was every used.

                  Bless those utility cyclists who travel the mean streets of Atlanta.

                  Jack Barbour



                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
                  [mailto:carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jym Dyer
                  Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 12:40 PM
                  To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Anti-cyclist policy in Atlanta?


                  =v= At one point not long ago, the heaviest clearcutting in the
                  South was not done for timber, it was to make room for Atlanta's
                  sprawl. That debris should become mulch for reforesting.
                  <_Jym_>
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