Groups Advocate for Increased Athens Bike Safety

Busy roads throughout Athens don’t always have bike lanes, making it difficult for bike riders to get around safely.

Groups like BikeAthens advocate for a better and more comprehensive bike network in Athens, and are working with Athens-Clarke County on the Athens in Motion Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan.

Whitney Voyles is just one of the many cyclists who will benefit from the Athens in Motion plan. She rides her bike almost every day to get to work at the Disability Resource Center. She says she remembers making a right turn near a Waffle House when a driver forgot to use his blinker.

“I didn’t realize he was turning until it was too late, and then I just smashed right into him,” says Voyles.

Voyles says in the four years she’s been riding, she feels like drivers don’t take cyclists seriously and don’t realize how large the cycling community really is.

“I think most people just see it as an inconvenience, especially if they have never had to or chose to bike,” says Voyles.

Brent Gubatan, manager at Ben’s Bikes in Athens, recommends that cyclists go the “high visibility” route.

“You can… wear bright colors, and you can even get flags,” says Gubatan. “You can get pretty creative.”

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reported 204 bicyclist and other cyclist deaths between 2007 and 2016. The office also supplies a bicycle safety checklist on their website, in addition to information on Georgia bicycling laws.

Bike Athens holds classes by request on bike skills, traffic skills, and biker-friendly driving. The next Athens in Motion meeting is set for April 9th at 6 p.m. at 780 Barber St.


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