Exact same spot

fullsizeoutput_262eSo after two years and eight months of use by me while Traveling at the Speed of Bike in a self-proclaimed family-friendly suburb-city in metro Atlanta named Dunwoody, BikeNoodle got hit for the first time. Here is the 4-second video capture, on a summer Saturday morning:

You can see my slight wobble as the bungee cord holding BikeNoodle snapped off my bike rack from the impact. This happened in the exact same spot* in my book years ago where I was almost killed by a passing truck. I was able to stop and fix it before the dangling cord would have snagged a spoke and toppled me.

fullsizeoutput_2630.jpegThis road (Tilly Mill Road)  is the way to the city’s main park (where there is a Saturday morning farmers market**) and includes a community center, two places of worship, and a college campus directly on it, plus it connects to two elementary schools, a senior living facility, and a high school. There is no plan for a protected bike lane or multiuse path on this road, ever. (Here is my latest email to city hall advocating, yet again, for safe access.) (Here is the Dunwoody Woodline media release I created that you are needed to make happen.)

Shortly after this, I was riding on a road named Mt. Vernon Road, which is the only road to my home (and which connects shopping centers, neighborhoods, routes to schools and places of worships, the post office, transit stations, so many banks, and more), and found myself behind a man who appeared to be in his early 70s or so, perhaps just going home after running an errand at the drug store nearby. He seemed a bit unsure and uncomfortable and I stayed close so that he would get the coverage BikeNoodle usually offers, at least until the spot where I turn off. You can see that segment on my GoPro video capture here:

I hope he got home okay. I hope he wrote to city hall to demand better. I hope his voice is the tipping point that will help our city avoid the need for a ghost bike***. (If interested, see more videos of riding a bike in this city here.)

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truck.jpg* this is the truck whose driver almost killed me, which is the story mentioned in my book.

** here is the entire 8-minute route on Mt. Vernon Road and Tilly Mill Road to the park to meet with my friend, Joe (who is considering a run for mayor) on a summer weekday mid-morning. That big truck at the :37 point is where the 70-year-old man was in the video above. Also, catch the size of the truck around 6:45:

Note that I did hear that the possibility of a multiuse path at the beginning of this route is back on the table.

*** as opposed to our neighboring city, Sandy Springs, where a driver killed a bike rider last week

UPDATE: I posted a link to this blog post on Facebook, and the following series of comments happened. I buff my Facebook wall every Sunday night so I can start fresh each week so I want to preserve this conversation here:

  • Susan Davis Harper Lynn Prager Deutsch Terry Nall John Heneghan when shall we as a city take biker safety seriously?
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    • Terry Nall Susan Davis Harper The city is actively adding bike lanes and multi-purpose paths according to the master plans developed by the community. The primary issue remains with driver behaviors whether it’s obeying speed limits, pedestrians in crosswalks, 3-ft bicyclist passing, school zones, rolling stop signs, cellphone distraction, and other traffic safety laws. Police routinely target problem areas and writes citations. But driver behaviors remain the issue across multiple safety infractions even with aggressive enforcement. The real question is how do we change driver behaviors?
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    • Susan Davis Harper Terry Nall do you consider Mt Vernon or Tilly Mill to be safe routes for bikes?
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    • Susan Davis Harper Meaning…as currently designed?
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    • Pattie Baker Terry Nall Would you and the rest of city council/mayor be willing to do what these bus drivers in Brazil did to better understand what it feels like to ride a bike in conditions such as Mt. Vernon and Tilly Mill? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT74IMdBi3I&feature=youtu.be
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      Conductores de autobús se ponen en la piel de ciclistas. Bus drivers feel like cyclists.
      YOUTUBE.COM
      Conductores de autobús se ponen en la piel de ciclistas.…

      Conductores de autobús se ponen en la piel de ciclistas. Bus drivers feel like cyclists.

    • Terry Nall Susan Davis Harper Both roads you named have its planned improvements underway. Work is done in segments. Tilly Mill from Womack to N. Peachtree happens later this year, along with sidewalk addition on west side. Mt Vernon is updated with bike lanes and sidewalk with each intersection improvement that connects the gaps, including the current work extending beyond Vermack Rd in both directions. Retrofitting roads take time (and money). But your question was about commitment to safety and we demonstrate new safety improvements with each year’s budget. The question remains about driver behaviors, as improvements will not solve it alone.
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    • Pattie Baker Terry: Thank you for the changes. Some have been wonderful. However, some do not meet NACTO guidelines for speed and volume of motor vehicle traffic, and some simply do not work and put people in grave, immediate danger (hello, Pointy the Bike Lane). As a metaphor, I give you the following video. Everyone knows not to stand in the metal strip when a moving vehicle is approaching (notice, especially, where the older folks are standing) as it is life-threatening, and yet that’s the size of many unprotected bike lanes being built in our cities and suburbs, on roads where motor vehicles travel faster than 35 miles per hour. This is wrong, and everyone knows it.
      https://youtu.be/EyDKX9TY4Ko
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    • Joe Seconder Susan Davis Harper – We had considerable push back in trying to make Tilly Mill designed as a Complete Street. Why? “Because it wasn’t in the plan”. Well, life happens. And safety and welfare of all of our citizens needs to be the highest priority. And when we tried to change those plans a couple years later, we STILL had pushback from a single current elected official in designating Tilly Mill for bike facilities. It took CONSIDERABLE citizen time & effort to overcome the resistance from said council member. Simply had to “work around” that person and get the other council members on board with it. Here’s a snapshot of the effort: http://bikewalkdunwoody.org/…/nudging-the-needle-on…/
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      Nudging the Needle on Tilly Mill Bike Lanes: It takes a village
      BIKEWALKDUNWOODY.ORG
      Nudging the Needle on Tilly Mill Bike Lanes: It takes a village

      Nudging the Needle on Tilly Mill Bike Lanes: It takes a village

    Write a reply…
  • Robyn Elliott HI Pattie! Welcome home… WOW! It almost seems like the only way for that noodle to get hit is if it was intentional. wouldn’t you agree?
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  • Lynn Prager Deutsch Pattie Baker I am so sorry that happened.

    Having attended several GA Walks summits, I know that things are getting worse for cyclists and pedestrians. This has a lot to do with distracted driving and also the size of vehicles. I kow cities across the country are really struggling to find solutions. We are no different.

    I recently initiated the process for the city to consider speed cameras in school zones (as now permitted by state law). This is just a small, small step but I am anxious to see if this helps make it safer to walk/bike to schools in busy fast moving traffic areas.

    We are working towards greater connectivity through our multi-purpose trail system. Of course, everyone has to be able to get to those paths safely as well.

    Again, I am incredibly sorry that happened.

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    • Pattie Baker Thank you so much for that, Lynn. That means a lot to me. I am continually impressed with your commitment to become more informed on these topics. I do know that there are simple, immediate, inexpensive tactical urbanism techniques that can showcase pilot examples of access for all. Would you have any interest in seriously considering these? We do not have time to waste on this. People’s lives are in danger daily.
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  • Joe Seconder And there were NO oncoming cars in the opposite direction. So they had plenty of room to pass safely. It’s sad when we have had elected officials proactively campaigning against our city taking the steps and moving towards becoming a Bike Friendly Community. Or when elected officials actively campaign against installing bike facilities on this very road. Why don’t we at least task the police to enforce the 3-ft passing law? And also the hands free law? We need to reprioritize how we spend our public works road funds and put SAFETY first. When we have budget excesses and put them into more paving, those are precious taxpayer dollars that could go towards reducing injuries or deaths on our roads.
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  • Joe Seconder How ironic. Tomorrow our city council is proposing adding $390k of precious taxpayer dollars into MORE PAVING. I just sent our public works director, city manager, mayor & council the following email: “Hi Michael,

    I truly appreciate your leadership in helping create Complete Streets, and the progress we’ve made in the past decade in helping our city be a safer place to get around on human-powered means.

    However, on Monday night’s agenda, you’re proposing a total of $390k for more paving. In the staff memo it says, “At the completion of paving the city will have a surplus of paving funds…”

    Can you please identify the source of those funds? If SPLOST or ANY other source of funds not legally binding or restricted to paving, then we need to use those funds for roadway safety & traffic calming measures, or building protected bike infrastructure, or more sidewalks (or fixing them), finally fully implementing the pedestrian action safety plan, etc.

    If hit by a motor vehicle at 20 mph, a pedestrian has a 90 percent chance of living. At 40 mph, you have a TEN PERCENT chance of surviving. And you know that at 35 mph posted limits, most drivers are nearing 45 mph.

    We need to INVEST for safety FIRST and acknowledge that roads will all eventually be paved. Let’s patch the potholes while preventing injuries or deaths of our most vulnerable roadway users.

    Regards,

    Joe
    404-545-3711

    Reference:

    http://jkheneghan.com/…/07222019_Paving_Contract…

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  • Anne Hunt Hicks Pattie, I am so sorry this happened. Wow. I recently bought a new bike (you are a big inspiration by the way) and do not feel very safe riding to Brook Run. I just wrote Council to press them to make a safe bicycling route along Tilly Mill a PRIORITY. Expedite the plans, please, before someone is seriously hurt or worse.
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    • Pattie Baker Anne: I am so glad you got a new bike. I usually cut through Kingsley to get to Brook Run due to the unsafe conditions on Tilly Mil (although there is one little piece of Tilly Mill I can’t avoid). However, Kingsley (and any non-main-road) is significantly more hilly and the route I take significantly longer. Thank you for contacting city hall. We could be a model suburb-city for family-friendly access to our city’s increasingly wonderful amenities.
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    • Anne Hunt Hicks Pattie, I cut through the Village Mill neighborhood to Peeler to get to Brook Run but it’s nuts that you can’t take Tilly Mill safely.
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  • Jeffrey M Cohen Glad you are “ok” physically. I am sure it was a very nerve racking experience. I tried to get a license number from the video, but the image was too grainy. I wish someone would recognize the car.
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  • Fikret Atalay Scary… It did make me wonder though: if I had a noodle on my bike, how many times would it have been hit already?

    There will be options this November to elect folks who genuinely care about safety for all, including pedestrians and cyclists. Please vote responsibly.

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    • Pattie Baker Fikret: BikeNoodle has this sticker on it (you can personalize your own however you want). It has not been hit in almost 3 years, until yesterday. So I guess that’s a great success story for BikeNoodle. But imagine your teens or mom or spouse or neighbor (or that 70-year-old man in my other video in my blog post linked above) out there without one.
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      No photo description available.
    Write a reply…
  • Pattie Baker in case you haven’t seen this backgrounder: https://youtu.be/lkB7jNhUyYo
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    Traveling at the Speed of Bike with BikeNoodle
    YOUTUBE.COM
    Traveling at the Speed of Bike with BikeNoodle

    Traveling at the Speed of Bike with BikeNoodle

  • Jonathan Seidel Glad you’re okay
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