Posts Tagged ‘Biking in Charleston’

You would think that Charleston, of all waterfront towns, would be a biker friendly city. With an active urban center built of cobble stoned streets and one way traffic patterns, biking should be an attractive alternative to driving.  Coupled with Charleston’s evident commitment to preserving its precious ecosystem and a passionate college community, the Lowcountry should be a leading example of a southern city on the move.

Is Charleston a biker friendly town?

That's just me and my beach cruiser on the day of purchase. I bought it, put it in the back of my car, drove over 2 bridges and unloaded it on Sullivans...what a waste of gas 😦

But we aren’t. Our biker unfriendly bridge and road system actually isolates riders. Because downtown Charleston is a peninsula, we must cross one of three bridges to reach any of the many residential neighborhoods the area offers. And the only viable option to do so is by car.

A sparse few bike the James Island connector, and even the most experienced put themselves in danger. This past July, Charleston lost one of its beloved residents to a bicycle-vehicle accident on this very bridge (full story Affordabikehere). Crossing the Ashley River bridge is even worse. A narrow, raised sidewalk for pedestrians and bikers is the only means of travel if you decide to leave your car at home.

I wish I could ride my bike a half mile to Publix, but I would not dare leave the Sullivans Island city limits on my beach cruiser.

The painted line that separates the bike lane from the rest of the road is not going to protect me from a texter at the wheel, or a driver who simply gazes from his window at the marsh land and coastal wildlife.

There is light at the end of this tunnel road, however. 2 of them, in fact.

First, Charleston already boasts one AMAZING example of a share-the-road success. The Ravenel Bridge (commonly known as the Cooper River Bridge) is safe for bikers and pedestrians of all ages and experience levels, and gives drivers some added peace of mind. Protected by a 3 foot concrete barrier, riders and walkers can trek the 3 mile suspension bridge without fear. It is extremely well marked, easy to enter and easy to exit.  Battery to Beach Route

The second beam of hope is Charleston Moves, a non-profit organization that is seeking to “change the lives of Charlestonians by promoting bicycling, walking, running and public transportation.” To ignite this effort, the group has created an ambitious plan to build a safe, 24 mile bike route that spans from Isle of Palms through downtown Charleston, all the way to Folly Beach. Coined Battery to Beach, the initiative is raising money by allowing individuals, groups and companies to “rent sections” along the route. The money donated will go toward planning and building a route that is marked with clear signage and protected by more than a painted white line, or a patch of grass.

Watch their video. Get inspired. And then get moving!

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