From serving the community as District 8 commissioner, Carol Myers is dedicated to the citizens of Athens and their safety on the roads. A passionate cyclist, Myers has involved herself across the city in a fight for bicycle and pedestrian safety, both through the government and nonprofit organizations.
Carol Myers comes to a stop upon her red electric bike In front of Athens City Hall. It is obvious she is confident in her biking skills as she sports a pair of black open-toed sandals. Donned in bright green safety apparel, she takes a seat beside a park bench, halfway sitting in the grass.
“Are we ready to do this thing?,” she says with a smile.
Carol Myers has lived in Athens since 1984, and currently represents District 8 as city commissioner. Hailing from the suburbs of New York City, Myers found herself in Georgia after following her ex-husband to the state, claiming it was half-way between his home in Texas and hers in New York.
Myers works with fellow commissioners to ensure bike lane safety and accessibility throughout busy Athens streets. Her current proposition is to extend bike lines from Barber Street to Prince Street, with a vote by the commission expected in the upcoming months.
“There's 20% of people who say they'll never get on a bike, and then there are people who get on but they're cautious. And then there are other ones who said they'll get on if they had safe, protected lanes,” Myers said. The effort she puts into her work is to encourage “more people to normalize bike use.”.
Stubbornly rejecting the title of “hippie”, but embracing the notion of “bohemian”, the red bike she arrived on is a large part of her life; an homage to her past in New York. Biking has been a part of Myers’ story since the start.
“I had a bike that I got around on on the streets, and this is in the suburbs in New York. I rode my bike to school… so I had my bike there. And when I'm going off to college, I had my bike there… so I’ve never not had a bike.”
After leaving her position as dean of general education at Athens Technical College in 2015 after nearly 30 years at the school, Myers found herself delving into the world of local government, taking up a specific interest in commuter safety. In 2016, she became involved with Athens in Motion, a commission dedicated to the development and implementation of safe and connected networks of bicycle and pedestrian facilities throughout the city.
Myers always assumed that when engineers design roads, the main goal would be to keep people safe. However, she claims that through her collaborations with local nonprofits such as Vision Zero and Bike Athens, she learned that cyclist and pedestrian safety are put on a back burner, with travel efficiency at the forefront.
Since then, Myers has continued to dedicate her time to both grassroots efforts and government work to ensure pedestrian and cycling safety in Athens.
District 6 commissioner, Jesse Houle, works in close collaboration with Myers. He testifies that Myers is a “core component” of the city government, and works tirelessly to make Athens safer.
“This bike world that I'm coming from, from bike advocacy, you know, there's so many reasons to get people out of cars. I don't think we're gonna get everyone out of cars…I just want people to feel safer doing other modes of transportation,” Myers proclaimed.
By the time her first term as District 8 commissioner comes to an end in two years, Myers has high hopes for what she would like to see change in Athens regarding cycling and pedestrian safety. She believes it her job to ensure that the community moves in a direction that encompasses clean energy and bikes, and wishes to allocate the money she is responsible for in the most effective way possible.