Council tries to make city bike friendly

Brittney Knox

The City Council passed a resolution from the Druid City Bicycle Club to seek bicycle friendly community designation on Tuesday night.

The purpose of the resolution is to work with the bicyclists in Tuscaloosa through education, engineering, enforcement and encouragement, said Pixie Hicks, president of the Druid City Bicycle Club. She said that her organization began three months ago in efforts to get the city to partner with them to get the resolution passed.

The League of American Bicyclists would work closely with the city to say what needs improvement and what is being done well as far as bicycle safety she said.

She said administrators and students of the University have worked with her organization to help the passage of this resolution.

“The students have created a Facebook group called ‘I Bike Tuscaloosa’ and there give comments about safe ways to bike to campus,” she said.

She said they have pulled in comments about roads that are safer to ride than others and they have created a map to give a visual description of the routes.

“There are federal grants available for this resolution,” Mayor Walt Maddox said. “If you have a Bicycle Friendly Community Designation then you will be granted access to some federal funds.”

The only other city in the state of Alabama that has a rank from the League about their bicycle safety is Auburn, Hicks said.

She said that the highest rank is platinum, and the city of Tuscaloosa currently has no rank.

“Auburn has a bronze rank, and although that is low it does mean they are bicycle friendly,” she said. “Tuscaloosa has made a lot or progress, but there is more to do.”

Hicks said the city’s economic development has worked very closely with her as well as a program called Save Routes to School which promotes safe bicycling and walking routes.

“We are very excited about this step toward making Tuscaloosa more bicycle friendly,” she said.

“This resolution being passed is the beginning of a long-term project to make Tuscaloosa a more bicycle friendly community,” Maddox said.