Tuesday, February 9, 2010

One Cyclist at a Time

As I rode to an early morning meeting, I was delighted to pull alongside Rebecca Serna, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. Rebecca is now living car-free in Atlanta, winning grants and organizing bicycle events, and explaining how and why Atlanta should be a bicycling city.

It turned out that she was headed to the same meeting, to make a presentation on bicycling and health. She covered all the important points - physical activity, clean air, community interaction. She added that, through their property taxes, cyclists overpay for their use of the road while subsidizing drivers.  She also pointed out the enormous safety benefits. As more people ride bicycles:
  • the rate of traffic injuries for bicyclists drops.
  • the volume of car traffic drops.
  • it is perceived as a safer and more common mode of travel.
 In spite of her inspirational talk and encouraging photos, and certainly in spite of the handful of women in the room who regularly commute and run errands by bike, she fielded skeptical questions from the audience. One man thought Atlanta was only designed for car travel. A woman, who walks regularly, said she had no idea how to get her family of five to a nearby restaurant by bicycle.

Keep talking, Rebecca. One by one, people will be inspired by you, by a friend, by a photograph, by their own dissatisfaction with life confined to a car. And that person will inspire a friend or neighbor... It's already happening. As Rebecca told us, ABC's biannual bicycle counts show more people riding every year.


  1. Soldier on, Rebecca! (And everyone else, too.)

  2. Michelle, thanks so much for the post - you're too kind! I get inspired every time I see you wheeling past. Thanks especially for the nice words about the presentation - I didn't think it went terribly well :-)