Many local cyclists are not who you think they are …

The community is alarmed that a 53 year old cyclist was recently the victim of a hit and run motorist on Sewell Road. Two months ago a 16 year old Northgate High exchange student fell victim to a hit and run motorist. Several other incidents involving cyclists and motorists have occurred over recent months.

It’s time that we as a community submit to the idea that some Cowetans in our community use bicycles as a form of transportation. Perhaps these citizens don’t own a car and elect to commute by bicycle for practical purposes. Newnan and Coweta has a hidden cycling community that uses bikes to go to work, the store and elsewhere. Not all cyclists in our community are lycra wearing groups of cyclists out for tours of the county.

It’s estimated that 94% of Americans learned to ride a bicycle. That makes almost all of us cyclists. Cyclists are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents and everyday people just like the two recent hit and run victims. Many cyclists are simply trying to get from point A to point B like many of us do on a daily basis.

How many cycling fatalities must happen before we as a community are motivated to make some changes? One fatality is one too many for me. There are those in our community that despise the sight of bicycles on the road. The vitriol I’ve heard towards cyclists at times is evil. Many motorists today have a sense of urgency and lack of focus that makes their operation of an automobile dangerous to other vehicles, pedestrians, and yes cyclists.

There are a number of streets and roads in our community with dangerous conditions. Little to no road shoulders, fragmented sidewalks, and uneven curbs force users towards the road and oncoming automobiles. Conditions are worse in some of our underserved areas. Walking and bicycling are prevalent among low-income people. Yet the roads and sidewalks are in the poorest condition.

I challenge our local leaders to prioritize and support transportation projects that make walking and cycling safe and convenient for all Cowetans. Our population is projected to increase which will expand the number of autos on the road. Busier roads are likely to make it more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

I challenge our community to show some patience for cyclists in general. Again, some cyclists are simply trying to pick up some groceries and yes, there are those that use our roadways for health and wellness too.

Many local cyclists are not who you think they are, but they are one thing.

They’re fellow Cowetans, friends of friends, and locals that are simply trying to get somewhere out of necessity.

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