Currently there are a group of cyclists who are negotiating with residents of
Below find information on:
The current proposal and how different groups are posing it differently.
A better proposal.
Action to take.
The officials, cyclists and advocates currently involved.
The Current Proposal:
The current proposal is being defined differently by the various parties right now. The cyclists involved have sent out the following email:
Dear fellow Athlete,
I am writing you today as part of a group who is trying to come up with a way to make
Columns Drivea better place for cyclists, runners and residents. As you probably know, the residents who live and drive on Columns Drivehave been unhappy with many cyclists for a long time and recently tried to pass an ordinance that would effectively prohibit cyclists from riding in circles on this street.
Many cyclists attended a public hearing at a Cobb County Council meeting in January to try and stop this ordinance from being passed. That huge public outcry resulted in Commissioner Joe Thompson and the Chattahoochee Neighbors Association hosting a meeting to work out a compromise. The meeting and subsequent follow-up meetings have generated some very good will among the two groups as they worked to understand and address each others concerns. While negotiations are still taking place and will need to be approved by all parties, the cyclists are trying to be proactive and provide recommendations to help resolve most of the issues.
We would like to solicit your support for the following ideas:
1. We need to communicate to as many cyclists as we can reach on the various e-mail lists of the importance of common courtesy with motorists. So, no more one finger salutes, or swearing at drivers who make a mistake and do not yield to a bicycle.
2. We are recommending that signs be posted at both ends of columns drive reminding cyclists and runners to use good behavior.
3. We have agreed to encourage all riders and runners to go single file on
Columns Drive– cyclists with traffic and runners against traffic. No more riding two or three or four abreast.
4. We have recommended that we establish an ambassadors patrol of dedicated riders and runners who would be willing to wear a badge, pass out informational brochures to fellow cyclists and politely remind people about the rules of the road on
Columns Driveif they appear to be breaking them.
The last I heard, less than 10 people had volunteered to patrol.
Meanwhile, according to the AJC, Commissioner Thompson is planning to replace the “No Cruising” ordinance with another “Single File” Ordinance. (Story here.)
Cobb County Commissioner Joe Lee Thompson said Tuesday that he may kill his controversial proposal to ban bicycle cruising on a popular road and replace it with a rule that cyclists travel in single-file lines.
Thompson said he started drafting the replacement ordinance Tuesday after a meeting Monday in which a committee of riders and residents tentatively agreed to the single-file rule.
Thompson said the police could be called to enforce the new ordinance against problem riders. It remains undetermined whether the new ordinance would include fines, Thompson said.
State law restricts cyclists to ride two abreast, but it lets local governments make that rule more restrictive, Thompson said. He said he expects the Cobb County Board of Commissioners to vote on the ordinance Feb. 27.
Now the cyclists involved are telling everybody that this is just a suggestion. Thompson and the homeowners are telling everybody that this will be law, and that they can make cycling laws more restrictive than state law. Let me repeat that, Thompson is saying that local communities are legally allowed to make cycling laws more restrictive than state laws. Imagine what anti cycling politicians like Thompson can do if they are allowed to do this to Columns. What other roads will they decide to start restricting cyclists’ rights on? How soon before they ban cyclists from some roads?
A better proposal:
This is outlined in a letter to all cyclists.
I want to thank the cyclists who have been working with the Columns homeowners at Commissioner Thompson's meetings. I think some progress has been made. However, I have serious issues with telling the homeowners that cyclists will abide by a single file ordinance or suggestion, or agreeing not to fight
if they try to pass such an ordinance. Cobb County law clearly states that cyclists may ride two abreast "as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable." Exceptions are made for cyclists turning left, when the lane is too narrow to safely hold a car and cyclists, and when there are hazards to safe cycling. For these exceptions, cyclists are permitted to take the lane, and automobiles must yield. Cyclists are also allowed to take the lane if they are traveling the same speed as traffic. Georgia law states that a local authority may require cyclists to use cycling lanes instead of the roadway if cycling lanes are adjacent the roadway and are designated for the exclusive use of bicycle riders. Georgia law makes no other exemptions for restricting the use of public roadways by cyclists, and no other exemptions for taking away the rights of the cyclist. Georgia
The bike lanes on Columns do not qualify to meet the needs for an exemption because they do not meet the physical requirements of DOT guidelines, they are not designated for the exclusive use of cyclists, and they are inadequate due to capacity- the capacity having more to do with use by walkers, runner, and bladders rather than cyclists.
Joe Thompson and a few cyclists are now suggesting telling the automobile drivers on Columns Drive that cyclists must ride single file in a bike lane, except when passing, when that clearly goes against current state law. This is wrong and dangerous. The handful of aggressive drivers on Columns will now feel more emboldened to endanger cyclists if they "believe they are right" when cyclists ride according to the actual law. Tempers are going to flare and somebody is going to get hurt.
I think there are better solutions:
1. Enforce the laws on the books for cars and cyclists. If drivers know we have a legal right to be on the street, they won't be so aggressive. Discourage speeding. Enforce parking regulations- this includes landscapers. Enforce all cycling laws.
2. Discourage Team-In-Training and other groups from organizing large workouts there- this goes for cycling and running. When their running groups hit the road, many times over 100 people from the looks of it, it is impossible for cyclists to get into the lane to let cars by. They have a right to be there, but their large groups are
causing problems. They should voluntarily break up the groups and alternate sites.
3. Discourage all packs of cyclists over a certain number. Hell, training in a pack at Columns is not productive anyway.
4. Educate the cyclists that while they have a right to be there, they should be good stewards. That means making an effort to let cars pass them when it is safe, pack-in pack out, and public modesty.
5. Encourage the National Parks and
to provide public restrooms of some sort. Cobb County
6. Encourage Cobb County to build more recreational facilities for cyclists and runners in East Cobb. Just building softball fields does not cut it anymore. Encourage more bike lanes that are safe, nice to ride on, and near parking.
Regarding cyclists and fingers: Cyclists do not flip the bird out of the blue. Cyclists flip the bird, and use profanity, when drivers are rude, aggressive and/or pose a risk to the cyclist's well being. If a driver is constantly being flipped off, they should be
encouraged to look at their driving habits. Blaming it all on the cyclist is a lot of BS.
Columns Drive is not a park, but it also not a subdivision. It is a public road that serves 1200+ apartments and condos, two parking lots for national parks, and two subdivision. Back in the day, it also was home to polo fields, and saw traffic for that. It is a busy street.
has no right to restrict our use of it just because residents don't like the traffic. That would be like the residents on West Paces Ferry not liking traffic and deciding to only allow resident cars on it. We need to fight to maintain our rights, and not agree to give them up out of fear. Cobb County
Suggestive signs are great. Taking with cyclists is great. However in no way should we advocate giving up our rights or suggest to others that we will. I don't think commissioner Thompson ever meant for the no cruising ordinance to get voted on, and if it did I believe he knew there were 3 votes against it. It is not legally sound but would at least make him look like he was doing something. Now he is using it as a club to get cyclists to give up rights needlessly. We need to make it clear to him that while we will work with the
homeowners and are willing to work on asking cyclists to respect the neighborhood, we will fight him every step of the way to protect our rights.
Giving up rights because some people are scared is never a solution.
Action to take:
Contact people! Below is a list of the cyclists currently giving away our rights. If you do not agree with them, contact them. Let them know what you think is acceptible!
This is a link to the people negotiating for cyclists with Cobb County and the anti-cycling residents from Columns. These are the people who are giving away your rights. Let them know what you think. Opinions vary, and they might not represent everybody.
This is a link to
If you are a Columns or
Also, show up to the county meeting on February 27, 2007. Come face to face with the commissioners who may vote to take away your rights. Tell them it is not acceptable and that you care and plan to fight.