7 Low-Hanging-Fruit Actions Cities Can Take (November Update)

As we end each month, I’ll give you an update on the seven low-hanging-fruit actions a city can take to become more bike-friendly (re: this post I wrote my first week as Metro Atlanta Bicycle mayor). Here’s November’s:

  1. Eliminate beg buttons city-wide (especially during this global pandemic)  Update: See Don’t Make Us Beg
  2. Legalize bike riding on sidewalks for all ages (with right-of-way given to pedestrians and those using assistive devices) — Spotlight on the City of Dunwoody (Note: I was not in support of this for several reasons, but I’ve had a change of opinion on this. See here; also, meet Daniel)
  3. Adopt a Vulnerable Road User (VRU) Ordinance based on the League of American Bicyclists’ model VRU ordinance — Update: See Meet Marjon, and find out what the City of Brookhaven is doing. December update: Local VRU ordinances have no teeth. Here’s why. They do, however, help to grow support for the state to adopt a statewide ordinance, which is what needs to happen.
  4. Identify publicly how many (and which) miles of its total number of bike infrastructure miles (such as what’s listed on its Bicycle Friendly Community application) meet NACTO guidelines for speed and volume of motor vehicle traffic — UPDATE: No city in Metro Atlanta provides this map to the public yet (Google Maps and other online maps show bike lanes that do not meet this minimum standard.) Note: I interviewed Amelia Neptune, the Director of the Bicycle Friendly Community program and confirmed that the program has clear, objective standards (including a minimum 4-foot-wide bike lane on any road with a posted speed limit of 35 mph+) that cities are required to adhere to when deciding what to include on their applications.  
  5. Remove any signage on every sidepath that indicates it is not open during certain hours. Remove the inclusion on a city’s transportation plan of any multiuse trail that does not provide 24-hour access along with needed lighting, flood mitigation, and additional safety and access features such as call boxes, clear sight lines, and escape routes — Spotlight on the City of Brookhaven’s Model Mile (which comes close to achieving this)
  6. Provide bike parking at all government facilities and as part of the city’s standard street furniture, and require it at any commercial location where motor vehicle parking is required — I have a city in mind but need to research its actual ordinances a bit more. Update: I haven’t researched the specific city I have in mind yet.
  7. Encourage schools to ensure children walking or riding bikes home are dismissed first, not last — Update: I attended the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition’s virtual Quarterly Briefing this month and found out about the amazing things happening re: the family bike program and the priority for bike riders during dismissal at Tuskegee Airmen Global Academy in Atlanta and will do a story on it in December.