As the USA National Cycling Championships come to town, event organizers are putting an emphasis on safety. (WRDW-TV / June 22, 2012)
The USA Cycling Championship is being held in the greater Augusta area this weekend, which will affect traffic. There will be road closures and parking limitations all weeked.
For more information on traffic changes, click here.
News 12 This Morning / Friday, June 22, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's day three for the USA Cycling National Championships. Downtown streets will be shut down Friday, as athletes perform the criterium.
Inside Outspokin Bike Shop, Owner Brett Audrey is getting in gear for a busy season ahead. As he works on bikes and stocks his merchandise, he's also ringing in the cash.
"We are seeing 30 to 35 customers a day that are here just for the race," Audrey said.
With the championships peddling in more business, Audrey says it's an exciting time for the Garden City.
"Cycling is just a part of a progressive community where people are healthy and active and they get out," he added.
During this year's event, the Augusta Sports Council, which hosts the championship, wants the safety of both drivers and cyclists to be its number one priority, especially in a community that's seen fatal cycling accidents in the past.
"We've had and inordinate amount of tragedy for the last year and a half, and it's been a hard thing to deal with," said Randy DuTeau, sport development manager with the Augusta Sports Council.
Less than two years ago, a cyclist was hit by an SUV while riding his bike in Beech Island. He later died. Last year, a Fort Gordon doctor died after getting hit by a car while on his bike early in the morning.
Audrey was close to both victims.
"We felt like a duck going across the water, being shot at for awhile. We got beat up pretty hard," he said.
The wheels are turning toward safety again as major events bring more attention to the sport. The cycling community says laws like the "3 Feet Law," which was passed last year, help make the roads a little safer. Remember, if you're less than 3 feet away from a bicyclists on the road, you're breaking the law.
"It's a means of transportation for a lot of people," Audrey said.
For many, it's becoming a new hobby as they watch their favorite athletes cross the finish line. For a lineup of today's schedule, click here.