Atlanta Residents Form Human Protected Bike Lane, Call For Safer Streets

Jul 24, 2019

Dozens of people gathered in downtown Atlanta during Wednesday’s rush hour to create a human protected bike lane.

The move came just a week after William Alexander was hit and killed by a bus while riding a scooter on West Peachtree, where the makeshift bike lane was assembled. The sidewalk on that road has been blocked due to construction.

Courtney Cadle joined the human chain, using her bike to help protect the lane, aided by police cars and caution tape. She said the number of accident involving pedestrians and vehicles brought her out. 

Protesters stood on West Peachtree blocking a lane for cyclists and pedestrians.
Credit Ross Terrell / Georgia Public Broadcasting

“I’m not shocked but I’m frustrated,” Cadle said. “For decades cyclists have been fighting for safe streets. And then when the scooters were introduced to our city and being primarily used on the sidewalks, people said this isn’t safe for pedestrians.”

Ealier this year, Atlanta's city council passed regulations for scooter riders, including making it illegal for them to be ridden on the sidewalk.  But those in the bike chain said riding on the sidewalk sometimes feel safer than riding in the streets. 

Bruce Hagen is with the Georgia chapter of Bike Law, attorneys who represent people in bike crashes. He said people losing their life in incidents like Alexander’s could be prevented.

“What happened here with the loss of life last week was really very predictable,” Hagen said. “You’ve got no place for people to walk, no place for people to ride and you’re forcing conflict between large heavy motor vehicles and human beings.” 

Atlanta residents held signs and chanted "safe streets for all" on Wednesday.
Credit Ross Terrell / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Atlanta City Councilmen Amir Farohki briefly joined the bike chain, which was in his district, and handed out cards with his contact information telling people to contact his office.

This is the second time in the past few months a rider on a scooter has been hit and killed. Back in May, a man was hit leaving a MARTA station on the west side of Atlanta.

Participants in Wednesday’s bike lane chain called on the city to prioritize making complete streets, a concept in which streets include bike lanes and more pedestrian friendly options, a priority.