Bridge bans posted
It's over, bikers.
The state Department of Transportation on Friday put up signs prohibiting bicycles and pedestrians on the James Island connector.
Bicyclists for years have been using the limited-access highway to travel between James Island and the Charleston peninsula. But Charleston Mayor Joe Riley earlier this month said crossing the connector on a bicycle or by foot was illegal under state law, even though the city had failed to recognize that.
It's now up to the Charleston Police Department to enforce the law.
Lt. Chip Searson said if officers see bikers on the connector, they will tell them about the ordinance and hand them fliers. "Hopefully, we will never ever have to write someone a citation up there for that," he said.
Violation of the state law carries a maximum penalty of $100 or 30 days in jail. But Searson said the police department doesn't expect to make any money from bicyclists. "We understand the heartache this causes some folks," he said. And he hopes closing the connector to cyclists prompts city and other leaders to develop other, safe routes between downtown and James Island.
Tom Bradford, director of the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group Charleston Moves, said closing off the connector marked "a grim day for Charleston."
The alternative routes to travel between James Island and the peninsula are more dangerous that bicycling on the connector, he said. "I'm afraid we're going to lose people out there."