Walking the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge is a beautiful experience and good exercise. I try to walk it every other day to stay in shape. I see a lot of things on the bridge that drive me crazy. Rules and regulations are posted at the base of the bridge.
I came up with my own list of Bridge Edict Rules to follow when you go out and enjoy the view. (The name of this wonderful walking path is called “Wonder Way.” I wonder who came up with this name?)
1) No Pets: I know your dog is not like any other dog, your dog is a family member and it has feelings and probably talks to you and you only. But to everyone else on the bridge, it’s just a dog. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the leash; no pets means no dogs. I don’t know how many times I have seen more than one pile of dog poop on the bridge. No matter where you take your dog in Charleston, please bring something to pick up your dog’s poop. This item is No. 10 on the list posted. It should be No. 1.
2) No motor vehicles on the pedestrian side of the bridge. I have seen a moped on the bike path before. I don’t think they are supposed to be on this side of the bridge, but I wouldn’t take a moped over the bridge in the regular traffic lane; it would be suicide.
3) Wheelchairs, motorized or not, are OK. But I have never seen one. Going downhill could be a little scary.
4) Stay in marked lanes except to pass. This is a big problem. Going from the Charleston side to the Mount Pleasant side, the bicycle lane is on the left and the walking lane is on the right. I don’t know how many times I see people walking on the bicycle side. Sometimes side by side. This is very dangerous.
Some of the bikes travel at dizzying speeds going downhill, and if you step in front of one of these Tour de France bicycles, you’re dead and so is the guy on the bike. Before you step into the bike lane look behind you first to make sure nothing is coming, then move into the bike lane. After you have passed the person or persons you are trying to avoid, get back in the pedestrian lane as soon as possible. Never cross the center lane without looking first.
5) The pedestrian side of Wonder Way is wide enough for two people to walk side by side. When doing so, please be courteous to the people walking in the other direction. Fall into a single-file lane when meeting people coming from the other direction. Some people walk on the far left side of the pedestrian path next to the fence going from Mount Pleasant to Charleston, and this is OK as it gives runners coming from the other direction room to run around you as they pass.
6) Walkers should always yield to runners. If you’re fit enough to run this bridge, you need all your concentration and energy to navigate; just don’t step into the bike lane without looking behind you.
7) Everyone should yield to babies and mothers. You go, girl.
8) No skateboards, scooters, or skates.
9) No bicycles or pedestrians in vehicle lanes. I have seen bicycles in the main traffic twice. Very dangerous.
10) Bicycles shall yield to pedestrians. Bicycles should have audible signals such as a bell or horn for use while passing. Bicycles must have lights and rear reflectors at night.
11) Bicycles shall slow to an appropriate speed when passing. I’ve never seen this happen.
12) No discharging fireworks, throwing any objects, climbing on railings, or fishing from the bridge.
13) If you see someone with regular street clothes not carrying a camera, no iPod, or alone and they look very depressed or crying, you may want to stay close to that person or ask if you can help. Friends have told me about watching someone jump from the bridge. I hope I never experience this.
14) Always bring your cell phone for emergencies. I have had to use mine twice — when a mother had car trouble on the bridge, and when we thought someone was having a heart attack.
15) Please don’t litter, I have seen some trash on the walk, but most of it comes from cars and trucks. If you see something, pick it up and discard it in the trash receptacles at the end of the bridge. There is one at each end.
16) Don’t forget to look up and see the view. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the exercise and miss it.
The view is why I walk the bridge and it makes exercise seem less stressful.
Dennis C. Wheelus