Atlanta Bike Share Program: What is it and why should I care?
In Atlanta in 2015, only 1.1 percent of commuters rode a bike to work, according to Atlanta’s Department of Planning & Community Development. The city hopes to double that percentage by the end of 2016 through the new Atlanta Bike Share Program.
The Department planned to launch the program by the end of 2015, but has rescheduled the launch for the summer of 2016 due to complications in finding the right people to head up the operation.
So what exactly is a bike share anyway?
A bike share is a short-term rental. With an impressive 84 miles of bike lane paths through and around Atlanta, there are many opportunities for bicyclists to make safe, inexpensive, and healthy riding choices. At present, the goal is to have 500 bikes available at 50 rental stations.
How does a bike share work?
Ideally, the bike share operates on an online or kiosk basis where riders can source and reserve bikes right from their computers or mobile devices. They can prepay for their rental or at least input their credit cards into the system so they do not need to worry about having access to their cards while riding. And, once ridden, they can return the bikes either to a rental station or, if the bikes are GPS-enabled, to any locking bike rack.
Given that Atlanta laws require that anyone under the age of 16 wear a helmet while riding a bike, there will be helmet rentals available at the bike kiosks as well that riders can rent for a fee.
What are the benefits of bike sharing?
Bicycling is a great exercise program for the whole body. But many people do not have the funds available to invest in a good quality bike when they will not ride it all the time. What bike sharing does is allow riders of all ages and ability levels to take small steps to improve their health, reduce their environmental impact, and gain all the benefits of bike riding without the upfront investment.
In addition, the more people are riding bikes, the fewer cars there are on the road.
What Atlanta laws govern bicycling that I need to know?
As mentioned above, anyone under 16 needs a helmet. While everyone should wear a helmet for safety’s sake, the law does not require adults to do so. The Georgia Code governs the rules of the road for bicyclists, some of which we have highlighted here:
- In bicycle lanes, motor vehicle operators must give the right-of-way to bicyclists (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-55).
- Bicyclists older than 12 may not ride upon sidewalks unless otherwise permitted by ordinance (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-144).
- Bicyclists may, but are not required to, ride on a paved shoulder (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-291).
Unfortunately, Atlanta is still a heavily-trafficked city and when bikes collide with cars, riders can suffer devastating and debilitating injuries. If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a bicycling accident in Atlanta, be sure to speak with a car accident attorney from the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. Contact us today at 404-474-0804.
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