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Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 12:00pm

Bi-State Bike Summit in Augusta

Georgia and South Carolina will hold the nation’s first bi-state bike conference this month in Augusta. Organizers say cities in both states are seeing a biking renaissance.

The Georgia-lina Bike Summit will include panels on bike safety, traffic laws and ways to boost the number of women who cycle.

Brent Buice is with Georgia Bikes, an advocacy group. He says the number of local biking groups in Georgia and South Carolina is soaring.

Buice says the summit will be the first since the Georgia Department of Transportation adopted the Complete Streets approach last month. That means the DOT will now also look at the needs of bikers and pedestrians when designing roads.

And he says that’s a watershed moment and hopefully the start of something larger.

“What we really need is places like Athens and Augusta and Savannah and other communities like Macon and Columbus to adopt Complete Streets policies which would lead to a real transformation of accommodating people and not just motor vehicles in the design of their roads," he said.

Buice says DOT officials will be at the summit to talk about the Complete Streets policy.

The number of local cycling groups in both states is on the rise, and Buice says the conference will encourage their efforts.

“Some are literally just getting on their feet right now," he said. "They are completely volunteer, but it’s a core group of residents in places like Albany and Rome who really believe and know that making their communities more bike-friendly is valuable, important, has economic benefits, has health benefits – it’s just win-win-win down the line. But they feel isolated and they’re not sure how to start.”