Thursday, April 12, 2012

Milton to become more bike-friendly.

Road improvements to help traffic, cyclists coexist.

by Jonathan Copsey / The Milton Herald

April 10, 2012

MILTON, Ga. - In July, a cyclist was hit by a drunk driver from Milton while they were driving in Marietta. A month earlier, a man was riding his bike in Sandy Springs when he was killed after being hit from behind.

As most cyclists probably know, roads are not often the safest for riding, Milton's especially. They are narrow and winding, with little to no shoulder and often immediately turn into ditches and woodland. And with the warmer weather so far this year, cyclists will assuredly increase in numbers as summer looms closer.

But the city is working on it, said Public Works Director Carter Lucas.

"We're working to provide more asphalt and widen lanes slightly," said Lucas, who is an active cyclist. "That will add a little bit of a bikable shoulder."
While that won't quite be a full bike lane, at least it will give riders a little bit of space between them and faster-traveling traffic, Lucas said.

Under Georgia law, bicycles are considered vehicles. As such, they are expected to stay in the street instead of sidewalks, which are for pedestrians.

"You don't want someone going 20 mph next to pedestrians," Lucas said.

Similarly, a pack of road bicyclists traveling at 20 mph can be both a nuisance and a danger to cars traveling at least 40 mph.

The state recently passed a "3 foot rule" intended to require drivers to give cyclists at least three feet of distance when they are on the road.

There are some ways cities can helps cyclists and traffic keep out of each other's way. Some neighboring cities – such as Roswell – have begun adding bike lanes to the outside of newly paved roads, making it safer for both the rider and drivers. However, many of Milton's roads do not yet have these lanes. Clearly marked bike routes and signage are also possible, Lucas said.

The city is finalizing its parks and recreation master plan, which will include where to place bike paths throughout the city. These paths could be similar to the Greenway in Alpharetta, where the paths are wide enough to allow both joggers and cyclists.

"That's easier for the recreational-type biker to share with pedestrians," said Lucas. "But the hardcore biker would prefer to be on the road."


Anonymous said...

They need to ride on a greenway. The two lane windy curvy Hopewell rd is not the place for it!

Anonymous said...

That would be great if the bicyclists would actually ride to the right of the white line when there is one, but they DONT, they won't even move over if there is an oncoming car coming in the opposite direction and you are forced to slam on the breaks or cross the double yellow line to avoid hitting them or getting in a wreck to try and avoid them. They are a pest out here and every single day drivers are put in dangerous situations because of them. Either make bike lanes (charge them not the taxpayer) or get off the frikken roads out here.
My life and that of my children and passengers are more important than people using our roads to ride bikes.

Anonymous said...

How about Milton becoming more "people driving in cars friendly" instead! Our roads need repair, potholes everywhere, especially Hopewell and Hwy 9. Does anyone on City Council not notice the exposed valve covers on Hwy 9 that are horrible? Do something about them please!