Bikes around Charleston? Yikes!

It’s time for the protection of cyclists in Charleston.

Charleston has repeatedly made headlines over the past decade for being an unsafe place for cyclists.

The absence of practical bike lanes around the city has added to the confrontational culture between bikes and cars.

The City Council has denied several proposed plans by local bikers alliances, primarily claiming a lack of funding as justification for non-action.

The Post and Courier explains that creating bike lanes can in fact be financially beneficial in the long term as the presence of bike lanes can “raise property values, improve public safety and boost quality of life without dramatically increasing car travel times.”

 

Even more than saving money, a more bike-friendly culture in Charleston would save lives.

Fifteen people were killed riding bikes in Charleston County between 2011 and 2015.

Recent research conducted by the Palmetto Cycling Coalition suggests that bicycle safety is not only a local issue but also a state concern, as around 95 percent of all pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and approximately 85 percent of injuries are on state-owned roads.

Other delays in the bike path construction process have come from local and state governing bodies arguing that an increased bike flow would slow down the car traffic flow.

Which is true.

A recent study confirmed that the construction of a bike path on the James’ Island would cause a one-minute delay during peak rush hour, which would be enough to consider the bridge at a “failing level of service.”

Though the current local budget does not permit for excessive amounts of spending, and the construction of bike lanes could slow traffic flow minimally, the construction of a new bike friendly culture in Charleston is a necessary pedal that we must take as a community.

 

by Coleman Ott

 

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