Bicyclists pedal around Neptune Park on St. Simons last year.

The Bike Walk Golden Isles organization is moving forward with its plans to advocate for better biking and pedestrian trails and other infrastructure throughout Glynn County.

A steering committee, including Glynn and Camden County residents, has recently been organized, and the group plans to renew the organization’s nonprofit status.

“This organization will thrive with enthusiastic and local leadership,” said Patti Sistrunk, one of Bike Walk Golden Isles’ local organizers. “… It’s about the people who walk and bike and run and play here in Glynn, McIntosh and Camden counties.”

And there’s plenty of interest in this issue, according to the results of a survey the group completed earlier this year. The online questionnaire received almost 170 responses from people with an interest in Bike Walk Golden Isles’ mission.

“Having received hundreds of responses from residents of Coastal Georgia, I think we can conclude there is keen interest in making the region safer and friendlier for people who walk and ride bikes,” said John Bennett, safety education programs manager for Georgia Bikes, who has also helped organize Bike Walk Golden Isles. “While many respondents indicated they walked and biked for exercise and enjoyment, a significant number mentioned the need to improve safety for people who walk and ride bikes for transportation and the need to make streets safer for everyone.”

Respondents also showed significant interest in seeing investment in new infrastructure and in upgrading and maintaining paths, sidewalks, bike lanes and other assets that already exist.

This survey response corresponds with what’s being seen on a national scale, Bennett said.

“People have come to understand that better places to walk, bike and roll are critical for improving public safety and public health and for boosting local economies,” he said. “Infrastructure is important. At the same time, there’s also interest in organizing events that bring the community together for healthy recreation.”

The survey also indicated a local desire for education programs that teach children and adults best practices for staying safe.

Bike Walk Golden Isles is in the process now of defining its leadership roles and building a mission statement, a vision and goals.

“We’re also looking for opportunities for engagement in the community,” Sistrunk said. “With National Bike Month right around the corner in May, I think we’ll have some things happening.”

Sistrunk said she was not surprised to see through the recent survey how much interest people in the Golden Isles have in developing better biking and walking programs and trails.

“Most people responding said that they want to see improved and better connected infrastructure — more biking and walking paths, trails, crossings and signage,” she said. “And many people responded that they’d be willing to volunteer and support BWGI efforts.”

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