Bike GT

Bike GT

Supporting Bicycling at Georgia Tech

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GTPD Tabling and Free U-Locks

FREE BICYCLE U-LOCK GIVEAWAY!!!
The GTPD is encouraging our community to choose cycling as a clean alternative mode of transportation in support of Earth Day.

Stop by the GTPD table on Tech Walkway this Friday, April 20th (Earth Day) for a chance to receive a free Bicycle U-Lock. To participate, you will need to bring your bicycle by our table and register it with the GTPD. One winner will be randomly selected out of the individuals who registered their bicycle with us at our Earth Day table. Winners will be notified via email or phone.

Come meet and talk with GTPD Officers on bicycle safety and security.

You will also have the opportunity to register your bicycle with the GTPD. We will be on Tech Walk Way, (formally Skiles) Monday, April 16, through Thursday, April 19, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Georgia Tech is a Silver Bike Friendly University

We’re very (very) excited to announce that the Georgia Institute of Technology has been recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bike Friendly University (BFU), with the rating of Silver (the potential rankings are None, Honorable Mention, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum). This is a tremendous recognition, and serves not only to validate the efforts of countless individuals and the university as a whole, but elevates Georgia Tech’s presence on the national scene as a university committed to truly serving the needs of its student body, who at Tech have demanded more support for bicycling in recent years.

Some background on the BFU title: As of this spring, 35 universities have been awarded Bike Friendly status, with one Platinum (Stanford), two Gold (UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis), and 14 total Silver schools. Emory University is one of the Bronze schools, having been awarded status as one of the first BFUs, making Atlanta the only city currently home to 2 recognized Bike-Friendly Universities! For fans of the Tech-UGA rivarly, note that UGA was awarded an honorable mention last fall.

We were recognized particularly for our subsidized bike education and maintenance classes, Bike Week, ViaCycle, Starter Bikes, and the involvement of President Peterson. We were also provided with a list of areas for improvement, which we’ll be reviewing and using to supplement other feedback from students and an internal gap analysis to direct our future efforts! For now, we’d simply like to thank everyone responsible for helping make this possible, and for supporting bicycling at Georgia Tech. The efforts of President Peterson, ViaCycle, Starter Bikes, the BIIC, hardworking staff (special thanks to Parking and Transportation, Capital Planning, Facilities, GTPD, and EH&S!), and countless volunteers, are why we have the programs and facilities we do, and they deserve the credit for this tremendous achievement.

Congratulations, Georgia Tech!

National Bike Summit: What I Learned

After a long day of lobbying yesterday, I’ve finally had the chance to sit down and share some of the cool facts and stories that we heard during our speeches and sessions on Wednesday. Here are a sampling of some of the notable things I learned:

Session #1: “Bicycling Means Business” – Steve Meineke (President, Raleigh America), Steve Flagg (President, QBP), Brian Foley (Director of Merchandising, REI).

– Donating to the campaign of local officials is an easy way to get their ear for long enough to tell your story.

– 4:1 return on money spent to support bike commuting compared to the healthcare savings (for QBP).

– There are 2,000 transportation lobbyists in D.C.

– The demand is there; the economics is there; the infrastructure needs to catch up.

– We need more actual analysis from independent and reviewed sources; we need data!

 

Session #3: “The Benefits of Bicycling: Making the Case” – Jeff Miller (President, Alliance for B&W), Deb Hubsmith (Director, SRTS National Partnership), Maggie Grabow, Jay Gaikowski (Marketing Director, QBP)

– Rural bicycling: In towns of less than 10,000 twice as many trips are made by bicycling as in heavy urban areas. In Billings, MT, the chamber of commerce identified bike infrastructure as key to their recruitment of businesses and employees (Billings was ranked #1 small town for business location).

Conclusion = Bikes benefit everyone.

 

SRTS (Deb Hubsmith):

– Adding sidewalks cut accident rate for pedestrians by 50%.

– In 1969, 50% of kids walked/biked to school; today it’s 13%.

– 12,300 schools have benefited so far from SRTS (10% of schools)

– 25% of children’s traffic deaths occur when they are walking and biking and are struck by a car.

– For .5% of transpo funding, SRTS improves safety and increases physical activity at 12,300 schools.

 

Quality Bicycle Parts (Jason):

– Transportation policy is a viable means of addressing our nation’s health care crisis

– Commuting by bicycle can have an enormous impact on employee health and productivity

– Small investments in bicycle infrastructure can generate substantial returns.

– For businesses, changes in healthcare costs are a major aggravation

– Healthcare costs nationally from 2009-2011 up 24%, costs for QBP over the same down 4.4%. QBP employees higher on 15/18 health scores, tied on the other 3.

– $45,000 in commuter rewards programs; saved $175,000 annually on healthcare.

 

Bikeability and the Midwest (Grabow):

– Total economic impact of Bicycle Recreation in Wisconsin = $913 million

– $535 million from bicycle tourism

– Total of $1.5 billion in economic value

– In a study of the 11 largest cities in the Upper Midwest, modeling the substitute of all short trips in urban and suburban census tracts with bicycling during warmest 6 months of the year, they found:

1) Results: .1 microgram/cubic meter reduction in fine particulates, net reduction in ozone production, 608 fewer annual deaths, $4.94 billion in savings per year.

2) 4 trillion fewer tons of CO2 emitted annually.

3) Total of $8.7 billion in benefits and 1,295 fewer deaths (in terms of mortality rates)

 

Alliance for Biking and Walking (Jeff Miller):

– 50,000,000 bicyclists, 4 billion trips (11.5% of all trips)

– If you triple the number of cyclists riding, you cut traffic incidence in half

– 8,400 jobs from TE, SRTS, etc. (1.6% of transportation funding)

– Twice as many jobs from bike/ped projects than highway projects

– 12% of trips, 14% of fatalities, 1.6% of funding

 

Session #2 was focused on preparing for the lobbying day, so I’m going to include those lessons in another entry focused on the state of the federal transportation authorization and our lobbying efforts. Cheers to a great second day of the Summit!

 

National Bike Summit Day Two: Save Cycling

Day Two of the National Bike Summit is drawing to a close, which means it’s time to reflect, type up some summaries and stories, and share it with the world. We got things started early this morning with not one or two but SIX keynote speakers, including Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Tom Petri (R-WI), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, and US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood (who two years ago made himself famous in the bike community by jumping on a table to convey his enthusiasm for bike/ped projects).

Representative Blumenauer, credited by many as one of the people responsible for the boom in bicycling since the mid 1990s, began with an impassioned speech about the importance of what we, as advocates, do, and credited the audience with being the reason that the House killed its draft transportation bill and is now appearing prepared instead to pass a clean extension of the existing funding (SAFETEA-LU, which passed in 2005, has been extended more times than I can remember, but does contain all the bike/ped funding levels that were threatened by the House draft bill). In his words, “You are the heroes of this movement. Make no mistake, it is a movement, and you are the heroes.” Though perhaps even more exciting was his proclamation about the future of transportation, a statement which we can only hope is true: “We are not going back”.

Secretary LaHood was a bit more restrained than years prior, but he did express his unequivocal opinion that the House bill is garbage, and that it should be “No more excuses, no more politics”, that we need to “ride up to the Capitol and tell them to pass the Senate bill”. His biggest advice in making the case when meeting with congresspeople? “This a jobs bill…It’s about taking care of our friends and neighbors”. Simply put, and an appealing argument!

In contrast to the Democrats present (excluding LaHood, who is a registered Republican), Tom Petri was less focused on critiquing the failures of the other bills, and more interested in why biking is important to everyone. Some highlights:

“We all know our nation needs a first-rate infrastructure to support a first-rate economy.”

“If we continue to underinvest…we’re not going to leave future generations the same opportunities”.

And the crowd favorite: “I think you’re doing God’s work”.

As a youtube favorite, Peter DeFazio’s speeches are always a powerful display of passion, and I’ll leave it to his own words on the interwebs to convey his convictions, but at its core was the idea that we simply cannot under-invest in transportation, and accept the same transportation strategy we had in 1950.

Donna Edwards is a new face on the bike/ped political scene, but a welcome addition given her simple and straightforward view that bicycling and walking are just ways for normal people to get to work, take their kids to school, run errands, and have a decent life. As she put it, “When you’re advocating for cycling, you’re advocating to save our communities”. You can’t have much higher stakes than that!

Jonathan Jarvis spoke to the growing partnership between the Parks Service and IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association), particularly his hope that the partnership would fuel the expanding bicycle tourism industry, and provide the parks with renewed interest and relevancy. It certainly sounds like a great pairing!

We had some great plenary sessions and a few other speeches, so I’ll try to type them up and post them soon.

(From left to right: Earl Blumenauer, Ray LaHood, Tom Petri, Jonathan Jarvis, Donna Edwards, and League of American Bicyclists’ President Andy Clarke)

National Bike Summit Day One: Keynote and Welcome

Greetings from Washington, D.C.! I’m here reporting back on the National Bike Summit, an annual gathering of advocates, industry members, planners, and anyone else interested in supporting bicycling nationwide. This is its 12th year, but of particular importance given the forthcoming vote on the federal transportation authorization bill in the House of Representatives. While the Senate has produced a bill (titled MAP-21) that would protect the better part of the bike/ped funding programs (though it would consolidate them into one more general program, titled Additional Activities), the House has so far shown that they intend to cut bike/ped programs completely, however, leaving things in a state of great concern for bike/ped advocates. On Thursday the bike summit attendees will descend upon the offices of their congressmen and women to lobby for a jointly-supported version of MAP-21 (or something close, that protects programs like Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and Recreational Trails).

Tonight, however, we were treated to a keynote speech by Mark McKinnon, who was media adviser for the Bush Jr. campaign, as well as countless other political and business campaigns. He’s also an avid mountain biker, and gave us a very intriguing presentation on the 9 keys to a powerful campaign.

#1) Purpose – Mark presented examples for each point, many drawn from political campaigns; for purpose, he showcased Ted Kennedy’s misstep when asked at the end of an interview why he wanted to be President and failed to have any answer he could muster. In sum, the idea is that you have to have a dedicated, focused mission, or your campaign will lack the central content it requires.

#2) Tell a story – Here the key is to construct a narrative that conveys your message convincingly and meaningfully. His example of choice was the Obama campaign “Change” commercials.

#3) Brief – As time has gone on, it has become even more important to condense the message. It’s true that issues are complex, but the story/message simply has to be manageable, or it will get lost in the details and complexity.

#4) Emotional – Using a clip of Hillary Clinton at a brunch, where she is asked about why she stays in politics, if it isn’t too difficult sometimes (her tearful and honest response that it’s very tough, that she just gets on trying because she owes to the country that gave her so many wonderful opportunities, was admittedly very powerful), McKinnon made the point that all the facts in the world can fall flat if they don’t trigger an emotional response in the recipient.

#5) Authenticity – Given all the discussion of this in recent politics it doesn’t need much explanation, but it is increasingly important!

#6) Relevance – In a nutshell, without tying the story, the facts, and the emotions in to the audience, it simply doesn’t mean the same thing. The example given here was the terrifying and famous Lyndon B. Johnson “Daisy” ad (if you haven’t seen it, youtube it), which made a very poignant case for why voters needed to turn out to vote and vote for Johnson.

#7) Repeat Clearly and Consistently – Two examples here: (1) John Kerry’s ‘flip-flopper’ speech (where he made clearly opposing statements during a campaign speech), and (2) Bill Clinton’s repeated use of the phrase “bridge to the 21st century” in his 1996 Democratic nomination acceptance speech. Kerry’s failure to stick to a clear and repeated position undermined his campaign, whereas Clinton’s focus on one point led to a victory.

#8) Message Discipline – The message has to be brief (as noted before), but it also has to be disciplined. It must be focused, clear, and directed exactly as necessary. Like Johnson’s Daisy Ad, which only ran once, or many social media campaigns now, the strength is in the discipline.

#9) Be Prepared – A comedic example of a politician being interviewed by Stephen Colbert regarding the politician’s legislation to display the Ten Commandments in judicial buildings. When Stephen asks him to list the commandments, he can only list three; there’s no faster way to derail your best efforts than to falter in the face of under-preparation. Also showcased: Rick Perry’s “Three Offices I’d Cut” snafu, where he destroyed his campaign by failing to answer his own question.

Anyways, more to come from the National Bike Summit, today is the conference sessions, as well as speeches from some impressive government officials and industry leaders!

Bicycling in Atlanta: A Course for Law Enforcement Professionals

In an effort to better equip our very devoted and hard-working police force here on campus, Georgia Tech is hosting a law enforcement-focused course on bicycling in Atlanta. This class, which will be offered on 4 different dates (April 3, 5, 10, or 12) to allow as many officers as possible to participate, will focus on current traffic laws that pertain to cyclists, as well as safe operating practices, and common bicycle facilities.

If you are a member of an Atlanta-area law enforcement agency and would like to participate, please enroll using the form below. The class is free, and you may be able to receive POST credit (to be confirmed). We encourage anyone involved in law enforcement to attend, we guarantee that you will leave with a much more comprehensive knowledge of bicycling in Atlanta!

UPDATE: We have confirmed the class location as Smithgall 117. This building is adjacent to visitor parking, and if you have any questions on how to locate the building please email me beforehand at Johannw(at)gatech.edu

Bike Week Wrap-up

The Wrap-Up:

Well, our first ever Georgia Tech Bike Week has passed, and from what we’ve heard from all of you, it was a great success! We had 190+ commuters log over 500 commutes, with more than 2,900 total miles! Free bike repairs were a great hit, and more than 50 people came to ride with President “Bud” Peterson and members of the Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Committee. We showed off the forthcoming viaCycle bike share bikes, had a bike fashion show, had over 500 unique web hits every day, and 24 teams participated in the Scavenger Hunt! So, all in all, a great Bike Week!

60 people won some great prizes for logging their bike commutes, including prizes like jackets, bags, gift cards (REI, Target, Bacchanalia, Octane, Rocky Mountain), and much more. In addition, Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics came out swinging in the departmental competition, with ME’s 27 bike commuters leading the pack in number of total commuters, while Mathematics made the most of each person, producing a highest-average commute of 33.45 miles per commuter!

We had some great press, with two Daily Digest mentions, a Technique article, and even a mention in Creative Loafing! We tagged 700+ bicycles, and had some nice social media action!

Now, as we wrap things up, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us: What would you like to see next year? What worked well, and what could be improved? We’d like to hear from all of you!

Savings:

During Bike Week commuters who logged their miles prevented 2,265 lbs of CO2 and 8,120 grams of hydrocarbons from being emitted, and saved 134 gallons of fuel ($407 at current ATL gas prices)!

 

Thank you to our sponsors:

Auxiliary Services BuzzFunds

 

Student Government Association

Outdoor Recreation at Georgia Tech (ORGT)

Campus Recreation Center (CRC)

 

 

 

Octane Coffee

Rocky Mountain Pizza

Gardenhood

 

 

 

 

Loose Nuts Cycles

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

 

Congratulations to Scavenger Hunt Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the GT Bike Week Scavenger Hunt!

On Tuesday and Wednesday, teams of two to four rode around campus and nearby midtown following clues, hunting for bike-related items, and photographing it all. Here are the winners, and the swag they’ve scored:

Third place (40 pts): Team “I’m on a Bike”, Keegan Hill and Jake Martin, each win a bike tube

Team I'm on a Bike!

Second place (42 pts): Team “Under the Couch Rollers”, Eli Beeker and teammate each win a $10 Target gift card and a bike tube

The Under the Couch Rollers

First place (86 pts!): Team 6, Ana Eisenman and Katie Smith, each win a bicycle floor pump and $10 Target gift card

Team 6

All winning team members will also receive GT Bike Week T-shirts.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Professor Frankel Killed While Cycling [UPDATED]

Since our founding a few months ago, we have had the good fortune to share quite a bit of good news. Sadly, this last weekend brought us bad news:

Georgia Tech lost a valuable member of its community this past holiday weekend with the passing of Professor Kurt Frankel, 33.  Kurt was struck by a motorist while riding his bicycle in Walton County, Florida last Saturday.  Kurt was a prominent young professor with impressive success for his age.  He was active in science communication, including an appearance on CNN in response to the 2010 tsunami in Chile, and was well-loved by students and professors at Georgia Tech. Deepest sympathies go out to Kurt’s family and friends.

-Gretchen

[UPDATE:]

There was an excellent local news story describing what motorists and cyclists should take from this tragic accident. Please give it a read, and share it with friends. Find the article here.

Confident City Cycling: Advanced (May 16th and 18th)

If you’ve taken Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s regular Confident City Cycling class and want to learn more about group riding, basic mechanics, advanced traffic negotiation, foul weather/night riding, or if you’re interested in one day becoming a League Cycling Instructor yourself, this is the class for you.

Where: Tech campus, DM Smith 105

When: two nights – Monday May 16 and Wednesday May 18

from 6:15-9 pm

To register, go to atlantabike.org

Event Poster is attached below:

ConfidentCityCycling2Poster

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