Georgia has a middle-of-the-road spot in the latest ranking of Bicycle Friendly States by the League of American Bicyclists.
The nation's 8th most populous state ranked 25th in bike friendliness, up a spot from last year. The rankings were based on several factors, including infrastructure and funding, programs that promote and educate about cycling, and passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws.
The news follows a spate of fatal bicycling accidents:
- In Brooks County, a man was hit by a semi-truck driver on March 26.
- A Savannah man died after being struck by a motor vehicle April 26.
- A 45-year-old father of three was struck head-on by a motorist in Milton on April 29. Two men riding with the victim also were seriously injured.
- May 4, a 65-year-old local pastor riding a bicycle was hit from behind and killed by a drunk driver in Braselton.
- On May 7, a man was hit from behind and killed in Pike County.
"It’s a bittersweet moment for bicycling in Georgia," Brent Buice, Executive Director of Georgia Bikes, said in a press release. "We are proud of our upward movement in the ranks, thanks to our advocacy efforts and some state policies that support safer bicycling. However, we are deeply saddened by the recent tragic crashes."
According to Georgia Bikes, traffic fatalities overall in Georgia are up 19 percent from 2014; bicyclist fatalities are up 67 percent; and pedestrian fatalities are up 10 percent.
The Georgia Department of Transportation on Monday launched a year-long public awareness campaign, encouraging people to drive responsibly to help reduce traffic fatalities.