Radiologist and UGA alumnus fights for cyclists
Within three years of moving to Savannah, Dr. Drew Wade was already bettering the lives of patients and residents alike.
Wade (BS ’97, AB ’97), also a graduate of Emory’s medical school, partnered with South Coast Medical Group in 2006, practicing radiology.
“It’s been rewarding to come out of training and go into a good practice,” he says.
But that’s just his day job. When he’s not using imaging technologies to help his patients, Wade is striving to make Savannah and the state of Georgia safer for bicyclists. An avid biker himself, he noticed the community’s needs shortly after moving.
“I ride every day, to work, for fun, mostly to just get around, and I was part of a small group of people who saw the need for someone speaking up for people riding bikes,” Wade says. “No one was really advocating for this at the time.”
The solution? The Savannah Bicycle Campaign, a nonprofit Wade started in 2008. The campaign educates cyclists and motorists alike about how to safely share roads, fights for improving bicycle facilities in Chatham County and promotes bicycling as a healthy, safe activity for recreation and sustainable transportation.
Of the various successes of the campaign, one of the first stands out.
“Initial funding goals were to get a southbound bike lane from downtown (Savannah),” Wade says. “Since there was only a northbound lane, there were a lot of accidents occurring at the time.”
The project required six neighborhood associations to agree on a plan to change the big two-lane street, which is now smaller, calmer and safer for bikers and motorists.
Money for such projects comes from fundraisers hosted by the organization, including the annual Midnight Garden Ride. The event includes a midnight bike ride, a concert and various contests. Wade says 650 people participated in the ride in September.
In addition to his work in Savannah, Wade in 2009 became chairman of Georgia Bikes!, another nonprofit that works to improve biking conditions across the state.
One of the organization’s highlights is its role in advocating the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Complete Streets policy, which calls for the active inclusion of bike, pedestrian and transit accommodations in transportation infrastructure.
“It’s one of the most progressive projects in the country,” Wade says.