02

Blog

Better Bicycling in Macon, Georgia

Biking and walking are getting a lot better in Macon, thanks to local advocate Rachel Hollar.

Rachel Hollar is the energetic spark behind the success of Bike Walk Macon, the leading advocacy group in the Macon-Bibb County area.   I recently had a chance to catch up with Rachel to discuss how cycling culture has changed in the Macon area since Rachel founded Bike Walk Macon in 2015.   

Back in 2015, Rachel was, like a lot of people, someone who relied on her car for most things, including the short drive from her home to her place of work.  One day she decided to try something different and rode her bicycle to work instead of driving. It was a short ride, only about a mile. But Rachel discovered that riding her bike not only felt great, it was easy, fast, and she always had free parking.   Once she started riding regularly, she immediately felt happier, healthier, and connected to the people and community around her.

Inspired both by her daily bike commute and the occasional group ride, Rachel had the vision to believe that Macon could do much more to encourage cycling and that the cycling community had much more to offer back to Macon.   She did some research and applied to 880 Cities, which awarded her an Emerging City Champion Fellowship.  Her idea was to have a voice both for improving bike infrastructure and for bringing people in the community together.   “Bike Macon” was born. The initial response was amazing, and Rachel quickly realized that the interests of the cycling community and Macon-Bibb County pedestrian advocates were typically one and the same, so she reorganized the group as “Bike Walk Macon.”

Bike Walk Macon took on its first major project with Open Streets Macon, a street party that opened up a major thoroughfare to people.  The event was an immediate success and now is on its 4th year. People in Macon responded wonderfully to seeing how great their city can be when you remove cars and trucks and return the streets to the people.   

Open Streets Macon

Since Bike Walk Macon started, the cycling culture in Macon has improved tremendously.   Not only have the people in the area responded, but local Government has too. Where there had been virtually no bike lanes previously (less than 1 mile), Macon now has over 6 miles of dedicated bike lanes and is adding more as the roads are upgraded.   Downtown Macon has more than 60 public bike racks, a repair station, and even a Bicycle Parts Vending Machine.

Georgia Bike Lanes

A couple of years ago, Macon received not just local, but national attention for installing 5 miles of Pop Up Bike Lanes.  Bike Walk Macon, in conjunction with a volunteer group called Macon Connects, installed temporary bike lanes and left them in place for a week.   The results were measured and the number of people riding bikes increased more than Tenfold on those areas. The old movie line “If you build it, they will come” proved to be 100% accurate.   

Bike Laws in Macon, GA

Going forward, Rachel and the many bike safety advocates in Macon are pushing local government to enact a Complete Streets policy while also looking to spread more community events and educational opportunities.   Statistics show that approximately 1 in 3 people in Macon don’t drive, and Bike Walk Macon hopes to make its community as safe as possible for everyone to enjoy life outside a car. WIth Rachel Hollar’s commitment, that vision is bound to become a reality.  

Georgia Child Riding Bicycle

Comments

Unleashed dog attacks cyclist
Charlie Thomas Apr 03, 2020

What is worse – the underlying act or the coverup? A few days ago, we received a request for help from Eames Bennett, a Ph.D. Candidate at Texas A&M University. Recently, Eames was riding his bike home in College Station, Texas. At the same time, a family was walking their unleashed dogs next to a […]

Read More
Timmy Finch Apr 02, 2020

My first tip should have been the text I received from my father-in-law. He was looking for suggestions on bikes that he and my mother-in-law could get and ride. They’ve had bikes before but those were left to succumb to the salt air and rust, abandoned outdoors right next to the best intentions to ride […]

Read More
Andy Singer
Daniel Brazil Mar 27, 2020

[Self Portrait by Andy Singer] What do a cartoonist and a high school computer technology teacher have in common? A passion for cycling and bicycle advocacy. Andy Singer, cartoonist and illustrator and Ian Buck, podcaster and high school teacher, are both co-chairs of the St. Paul Bicycle Coalition, founded in 2010. They’re two dedicated advocates […]

Read More
Brendan Kevenides Mar 27, 2020

We all need some space.  In these strange times when a unique virus has shuttered my city, Chicago, and many others around the world, one of the more precious commodities is space, particularly outdoor space.  Yesterday, Chicago experienced one of those sunny, warm(ish) days that we always seem to get in March where throngs of […]

Read More
Daniel Brazil Mar 24, 2020

It’s important to know your legal rights (and duties) when bicycling in Minnesota. It is especially important after a bicycle accident (we call them bicycle “crashes” and explain why here). For any questions about the State’s bike laws, or about your rights to the road, contact Minnesota bicycle crash attorney Daniel Brazil directly. Right to […]

Read More
Texas Pick Up Almost Runs Over Children
Charlie Thomas Mar 20, 2020

One look at this video is all you need to see why this parent reached out to Bike Law with serious concerns about a Dallas driver. Even as a bike accident lawyer that has dealt with many cases of dangerous driving, this video made me shudder in fear. The cycling dad was riding with a […]

Read More
Load More