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Kiawah Island Bike Ban: Part 2

Posted Sep 12 2008 10:37am

Apparently I made a wrong assumption when I saw the above sign, (See my previous post and the comments.) although I am not clear what assumption I was supposed to make. A sign that has a picture of a bike with a big red circle and a red line over it, still means “No Bikes” in my book.

I am told Kiawah does encourage bicycles; the ban on a stretch of road, that just happens to be the only way to get onto the island, is only temporary (Until a bike path is built.) to protect residents and visitors from themselves.

Another local blogger went to the trouble of finding a copy of the Kiawah bicycle ordinance on their website. In a meeting when the proposal was first put forward, Mayor William G. Wert made the following statement:

"Mayor Wert stated bike traffic has increased on the Kiawah Island Parkway and there have been two incidents wherein bike riders have been sideswiped or bumped by motorists. Mayor Wert stated he had personally seen children with training wheels on the roundabout and Parkway, as well as children being pulled tandem behind bicycles. It is a dangerous situation, he believed, and safety for residents and visitors is paramount. Mayor Wert stated he is asking Ms. Rucker and attorney Rhoad to put together an ordinance for the next council meeting for review, including some fines. Until the bike path is built, the Town will put signs up prohibiting bicycle riding from the main gate out to Freshfields on KIP. The signs will be made and erected this week and the ordinance will provide fines of $100."

End of statement. This is from a town that is "Bike Friendly?" I hope they never get un-friendly.

Banning bicycles from a section of road because cyclists have been hit by cars, is like banning pedestrians from walking downtown after dark, because some of them have been mugged.

Also you can go to just about any town in the USA and see children riding bikes where they should not be. Parents are ignorant if they do not train their kids in road safety, but banning all cyclists because of this is just plain wrong. If this was done everywhere, no one could ride a bike on the road again.

Bike paths are not the complete answer; bike lanes that are part of the road are better. With a separate bike path you get cyclists going in both directions, with runners and pedestrians all using the same path.

People on bike paths still get hit at intersections because inexperienced riders do not look behind them and blow right though the intersection without stopping.

The motorist turning right is supposed to yield but does not see the cyclist because they are on the bike path off to one side. With a bike lane that is part of the road or even no bike lane the cyclist is right in front of the driver and the motorist is aware of them.

A better set up is a bike lane that is part of the road; clearly marked and no more than three feet wide. Any wider and it becomes a receptacle for glass and trash swept from the road by passing traffic, and a separate sidewalk for runners, walkers, and children.

The real answer to road safety is education, education, education; both people who ride bikes, including children, and people who drive cars.

I wonder in Kiawah Island’s case, if a “Share the road” or a “Bikes on Road” warning sign would have been a better approach, instead of a temporary bike ban.
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