Safer Cycling in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs Thanks to Joe Seconder
When it comes to cycling Joe Seconder is equal parts participant, zealot and activist. For example, a portion of his LinkedIn profile reports:
Bicycling Advocate / Evangelist. Proactively engaging to make my community, the Atlanta Region and the State of Georgia be a better and safer place to simply go for a bike ride – from the 8 year old to the 80 year old. It’s all about Connecting, Collaborating, and Creating.
An incredibly energetic and active cyclist living in Dunwoody in suburban Atlanta, Seconder preaches the gospel of cycling for health, recreational and environmental benefits but then takes it an additional step. One of his many goals is to make the streets and roads a safer place for bike riders to travel. Not to mention pretty much anywhere anyone wants to ride. This was among the reasons he started Bike Walk Dunwoody.
Pernoshal Park Pavilion; Sunday, October 9, 2016 Joe Seconder, and his following of bicycle enthusiasts of the “Bike Walk Dunwoody” started the afternoon events with a 2:00pm with a road ride around 20 miles. Bikers saw the new and improved bike friendly riding conditions on the roadways in Dunwoody. Then at 3:00pm bikers rode on the recently finished Trailway from Chamblee-Dunwoody Road at Pernoshal Road to Brook Run Park. The activities ended with the ribbon cutting ceremony of a Public Bike Repair Station installed on the trail behind the pavilion followed by a Picnic. Joe Seconder [center] leads his cyclists as they depart the pavilion for the road ride.
“We all need to share the road,” he said. “We need to start looking at driving as a privilege, not a right. We need to enforce the [traffic] laws we already have and re-engineer our streets.”
Seconder became a cyclist out of necessity in his youth. He secured a job at a restaurant 10 miles from home. During the school year he was able to carpool to get to the job but when school let out he got to raise his transportation game. “I was a dishwasher in high school trying to save money to buy my own car,” he recalled. “I worked full time in the Summer so I had to find a way to get there so I ended up getting a bike.”
Sandy Herrera [pink], Natalia Mejia [blue], Joe Seconder [middle].
After college, Seconder had the opportunity to see the world, serving in the National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves, being assigned to diverse places such as Korea, Germany and Iraq. His professional life also took him around the world to places like Zurich, Belfast and Copenhagen. When working in other countries he “re-started” cycling. All this travelling opened his eyes to the way other countries handle things like personal and mass transit, not to mention getting around on two wheels. While he says the idea that Europe is a cyclist’s paradise is somewhat of a myth, there is ample evidence that bikes and cars car safely share the road.
Joe brought his passion back to the States and helped start the Dunwoody Cycling group, which has about 800 members who regularly ride through Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Brookhaven. He has been a tireless advocate for improving cycling in his community and throughout the State, including through his role as a Board Member of the State advocacy group, Georgia Bikes.
Seconder regularly attends public/government meetings in Dunwoody and neighboring Sandy Springs to lobby city and county officials to remember the roads are paid for by everyone, thus, everyone should have equal and safe access. But he’s also quick to point out that it’s going to take more than one person, no matter how passionate they are to get things done.
“Big changes can come from the local grassroots level,” he said. “If two percent of the people (who cycle and/or walk) would spend just two hours a month on advocacy — getting to know how their city or county works — things would happen. Make time to go to one meeting per month. There are always going to be excuses but people have to show up.”