02

Blog

Get Ready to Rumble!

Or "How SC DOT is ruining roads at pennies at foot."

Here’s a guest rant from Katie Zimmerman.

Katie is the Director of the Air, Water, & Public Health Program for the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League. She joined the League in 2009 as a Project Manager after working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Services Center. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the board of the Palmetto Cycling Coalition and the educational advisory board to the Lowcountry Graduate Center in Healthcare Management and Community Wellness, as well as several other local steering committees for various planning projects. She is car-free in Charleston, SC.  She loves cats and does more than her part to make sure that Facebook is awash with photos of them.

***

This week, the SCDOT installed rumble strips along the shoulder of Highway 61 near the sidewalk, immediately exiting the westbound Ashley River Bridge.  Here they are:

rumbles-on-ashley-river

Motorists routinely drive this route above the speed limit and distracted, as evidenced by bollards normally lining the sidewalk that are strewn in the marsh. Those of us who bike or walk across the Ashley River typically choose this route as well. While incredibly dangerous, it’s the “safest” option. However, the route often is inundated with saltwater and debris from high tide and ever-increasing nuisance flooding as sea levels rise, and requires walkers and bikers to veer out into the roadway. While relatively easy to avoid the bollards, we now must contend with rumble strips.

As advocates across the nation have noted, “Rumble strips are virtually impossible to ride a bicycle on or over – they are at best uncomfortable, even for a very short distance, and at worst can cause a cyclist to lose control of their bike and fall. They can damage a bicycle wheel, can cause a flat tire, and/or shake lose parts off a bicycle. Consequently, cyclists will avoid riding over them – and when rumble strips leave no room on a shoulder, the cyclist will have no other option than to ride in the travel lane. While rumble strips do not deter car, truck or bus travel, they have a severe impact on bicycling travel, and have ruined popular cycling routes.” (http://www.advocacyadvance.org/docs/rumble_strips.pdf)

As bad as rumble strips are for the safety of people on bikes, the lack of notice to the community from the SCDOT is almost worse. It is unclear at this time whether Charleston County or the City of Charleston was notified that rumble strips were being  proposed and subsequently installed. South Carolina advocates have repeatedly attempted to work with the SCDOT to identify rumble strip projects: whether they are necessary and how they may negatively impact the bicycling community. But this egregious action along the Ashley River points to the agency’s inability to accept that not everyone relying on or paying for roadways is a motorist.

The location is already a contentious one as the community awaits the conversion of a lane on the eastbound Ashley River Bridge for the use of bikes and pedestrians. Specific council members have admitted that they stayed silent during motor vehicle improvements to the roadway, and waited to vehemently oppose the part of the project that would benefit people on bikes and foot. As bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is continually thwarted by certain elected officials who are simply too short-sighted to envision themselves or their constituents getting out of a car to travel, this latest rumble strip installation is a slap in the face.

The Palmetto Cycling Coalition has been working on the state’s rumble strip problem for years now. Make sure you get added to their alert list so you can stay apprised of the issue: http://pccsc.net. Locally, Charleston Moves has been working to get the lane conversion for bicycles and pedestrians on the Legare Bridge. Make sure you get added to their alert list as well: http://charlestonmoves.org. And finally, remember to stay in touch with Bike Law in case you have an incident on the roadway!

Comments

Fairhope Bike Shop
Peter Wilborn Sep 16, 2019

Katie Bolton and her husband Joseph are the proud owners of Fairhope Cycle and Tri in Fairhope, Alabama – the eastern shore.  Their shop has been open for 8 years now and in addition to selling and servicing bicycles, the shop often is a “hub” for cycling events in the Fairhope area.   Katie grew up in […]

Read More
Rick Bernardi Sep 13, 2019

Stop as Yield. It was the legislative Holy Grail for Oregon cyclists. Idaho had pioneered the Stop As Yield concept—allowing cyclists to treat a stop sign as if it’s a yield sign—in 1982, and for decades, Idaho remained the only state where Stop as Yield was legal for cyclists, despite the actual practice being widespread, […]

Read More
Peter Wilborn Aug 20, 2019

A camera is necessary kit for every ride. But finding the right camera has been a challenge, until now. My rebuttable presumption: the Ricoh GR III is the best cycling camera of all time. Read on, and if you can prove there’s a better one, let me know. The Ideal Cycling Camera To find the […]

Read More
Human Shield Bike Lane
Bruce Hagen Jul 29, 2019

If you ride bikes around Atlanta, chances are that you know Niklas Vollmer and Andreas Wolfe.  They’re some of the many people in town who seem to live on their bikes and can be seen riding everywhere.  While they both have their “day jobs,” folks in the cycling world know them for their place in […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Jul 19, 2019

This is a time when advocacy efforts are crucial to making our streets safer for everyone. Within 24 hours from the Two Wheel Tuesday gathering we suffered two more casualties.  On Wednesday morning, Marten Bijvank was on his way to work on his bicycle when he was struck and killed by an unlicensed DUI driver […]

Read More
AJ's Bicycle Shop in Iowa
Jim Freeman Jul 15, 2019

Bicycling Magazine recently published an article titled, “Hey, Bike Shops; Stop Treating Customers Like Garbage.”  The story follows a heavy-set 59 year old’s sad tale of how he was treated poorly from a number of local bike shops.   First and foremost, I would be clear that bikes are for almost everyone.  If you are big, […]

Read More
Bike accident scene
Rick Bernardi Jul 12, 2019

The big bike news out of the Oregon legislature this year was the passage of a Stop as Yield law. This was an enormous legislative victory for Oregon cyclists, the culmination of over a decade of advocacy. But it wasn’t the only legislative victory for Oregon cyclists this legislative session. A less glamorous but equally […]

Read More
Uber Biking Escort
Charlie Thomas Jul 11, 2019

I often find myself wanting to ride on a roadway corridor that doesn’t want me there. At best, I could make it across alive with some close calls and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. At worst, I wouldn’t be around to write this blog post.  Of course, a safer, alternate route […]

Read More
Cycling Without Age Bike Law
Brian Weiss Jul 11, 2019

The founder of the Lakewood Bicycle Advisory Team loves his life on two wheels. Gary Harty was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and raised in Colorado – Denver Metro area, and now makes bicycling in Lakewood, Colorado safe and fun.  Gary is part of the baby boomer generation. He attended Colorado State University (CSU) and […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Bike Law
Rachael Maney Jul 10, 2019

Outrage.  It is what drives action and engagement on the interwebs these days. If it’s not outrageous, it’s boring. The Election of 2018 proved that outrage increases TOS (“time on site”) more than friendship, sympathy, desire, or anything else.  Judgment. By definition it is necessary to reach any conclusion about anything. But passing it on […]

Read More
Stop as Yield for Cyclists
Rick Bernardi Jul 09, 2019

The Oregon Legislature made national news this past week, for all the wrong reasons. The State Senate, with a super-majority of Democrats in control, had been working on climate legislation which would have Oregon join a cap-and-trade market with California and Quebec. Unable to stop the legislation, Republican Senators fled the state en masse, preventing […]

Read More
Bike Law Alps
Charlie Thomas Jul 07, 2019

It’s Tour de France time. I follow the racing daily through the footage on TV feed and still photos. But I hadn’t ever considered what’s happening on the other side of the camera lens. Like, what actually goes into snapping these pictures that we see documenting the Tour’s happenings? I started to care more about […]

Read More
Load More