Wheel Movement starts second full year with plenty of momentum
By: Eric Johnson
With lots of accomplishments spread over a short period of time, Wheel Movement, the local bicycle advocacy group, has become a major force in the local riding world, promoting rider education and safe cycling initiatives.
Though the organization held its first membership drive in December 2011, Wheel Movement President Randy DuTeau considers 2012 to the first full year of operation, and the successes have been impressive.
Probably the most noteworthy was hosting the first ever two-state bicycle summit, where bicycle advocacy groups were able to get together and share ideas.
“That was really significant, since when we started the bid we didn’t have that much of a track record,” DuTeau said. Despite being a young organization, the event went was a major success.
The group will host its annual membership meeting and Ride of Celebration on Saturday, January 19, at Enterprise Mill.
The Ride of Celebration was created as a way to commemorate Dr. Matthew Burke and Dr. Dan Dickinson, two Fort Gordon physicians who died after being struck by motor vehicles while riding.
“A lot of communities will do these rides of silence to remember folks who have died as a result of motor vehicle/bicycle accidents, and I think that we had gone through such a profound amount of grief in 2011 that we thought it might be more fitting and a nicer, more positive tribute to do a ride of celebration,” DuTeau said.
The ride will offer options of 18 and 28 miles for the road riders, while recreational riders will be able to participate in an in-town tour led by Wheel Movement league-certified cycling instructors.
DuTeau touted the league-certified cycling instructors as another one of the big accomplishments achieved last year. A grant from Georgia Bikes allowed five local cyclists to participate in the grueling weekend course offered through the League of American Bicyclists.
“One of the three components of our overall mission is education, and so now, to have five certified instructors gives us a lot more credibility when we start launching education pieces, whether it’s a bicycle rodeo or something for law enforcement,” he says.
Following the rides, which will begin at 9 a.m., the annual Wheel Movement membership meeting will begin, where the board will outline the organization’s accomplishments and chart out an agenda for 2013. Members will also have the opportunity to renew their memberships.
They’ll also have a chance to talk about bicycle riding and road safety with like-minded individuals, which helps create the positive overall message the group wants to take out into the community at large.
“One of the things we decided to do right out of the gate was to be an articulate, logical and positive voice for the community,” DuTeau said. “Because one of the things we saw in the aftermath of a lot of those high-profile incidents was a level of discourse was just disheartening.”
Awareness of bicycles and their rights to the road are important parts of keeping incidents like the ones that killed Burke and Dickinson from happening.
“We’d be naive to think incidents won’t happen, because they will,” DuTeau said. “But the thing I’m trying to get out there is that just because you have an aversion to us being out there, you still have to be mindful.”
So does he think the roads have become safer? “I want to say that the roads are safer because after the incidents, even though the sensitivity was so heightened and a lot of times the exchanges weren’t so pleasant, you still saw for the most part that people were a little more aware,” he said. “So instead of blowing the horn, you were maybe able to wave.” You Might Also Like: