Our tour of Atlanta’s bicycle infrastructure was along some of the most common bike routes in the City. I have ridden all the segments of the ride several times. We rode from Tech Square through the Midtown neighborhoods, along the 10th Street cycle track, through the East Side Belt Line Trail to the Edgewood Ave bike lane, onto the Peachtree Center Ave NE cycle track, through the John Portman Blvd protected cycle track, and finally along the Luckie Street protected cycle track back to the Georgia Tech campus. The route is shown in Figure 1. The entire ride was about seven miles in total and we experienced a variety of bike infrastructure.
Figure 1: Atlanta Bike Tour Route 
Atlanta is not known for its stellar bikeability, and I think much of that has to do with the driving culture within the city. We are a car-centric city, which correlates to the lack of safety felt by bikers and disincentivizes bike travel. Our class rode in a large group, which likely increased our perceived safety on the roads. However, I have ridden this exact route many times, and while I consider myself a confident rider, I am very cautious when riding on most of Atlanta’s on road bike facilities. Figure 2 shows the cycle track on 10th Street that the class used, and the thin bollard barrier between the contraflow vehicle traffic. Figure 3 shows the Peachtree Center cycle track, which has a similar treatment, but with significantly more turning vehicle conflict points. Figure 4 shows the Edgewood Avenue bike lane, which has no separation at all from vehicle traffic.
Figure 2: 10th Street Cycle Track 
Figure 3: Peachtree Center Ave NE Cycle Track 
Figure 4: Edgewood Ave Bike Lane 
Overall, these portions of the ride made up most of the trip. I feel that the unsafe nature of the on-road facilities contributes to the lack of bike travel in Atlanta. Research shows that people feel much safer with separated infrastructure and with the exception of the Belt Line, Atlanta mostly misses the mark when it comes to serving its potential biking community.Dutch Cycling Infrastructure
The Dutch emphasize biking as a competent mode of transportation, a stark contrast to the United States. In fact, Mark Wagenbuur, Dutch cycling reporter, compares biking in the United States to a chase between bike riders and vehicles. He indicates that there is no trust between modes and that biking is seen as an activity for children. He goes as far as describing sharrows, a commonly used bike facility marker, as “useless paint” .
The Dutch design of roadways shows a clear prioritization of bicyclists over cars, and that is manifested in the figure of 1.3 bicycles per person in The Netherlands . From the initial steps of the roadway planning process, Dutch designers make the roadway as narrow as possible and always plan for cycle tracks on both sides. This ensures protected infrastructure as much as possible, which is always unless at junctions. Even at junction points, the Dutch design intersections in a way that eliminates the need for bicyclists to mix with vehicle traffic unless a left turn is necessary. As Wagenbuur notes, the most important design element of bike/car conflict points is the space necessary for cars to wait for bicyclists to pass while also not blocking vehicle traffic . In contrast, U.S. design almost always mixes bikes in in with the flow of vehicle traffic. After viewing Wagenbuur’s videos, it seems that not only is the Dutch roadway design significantly more bike friendly than U.S. facilities, but the bike etiquette of riders is also better. Watching the videos of bike traffic in The Netherlands makes it apparent that educating the bike population is an additional need for the United States .Personal Response
As I stated before, clearly there is a significant difference in bike facility design in the United States and The Netherlands. I believe that historically the United States has bought into the notion that our main goal is to push cars through a space as fast as possible, and that we can always build our way out of congestion. Since the conception Interstate Highway System in 1956, we have been focused on making it easier to drive, and I think we are only recently trying to plan for other modes. It is more difficult to plan for bikes in the United States due to the hilly and sprawled nature of our landscape. In contrast, The Netherlands is significantly less expansive, making active modes more preferred. Finally, the Dutch transit system between cities is much more complete, making it feasible to travel by bike within the city and by transit in between cities. Often in the United States, traveling between cities is not possible without using a single occupant vehicle.
 Wagenbuur, M. (2013, June 9). Cycling in the US from a Dutch Perspective [Video File]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2THe_10dYs&feature=youtu.be