Biking in the mainstream
Though there are still obstacles to bicycling in the Lowcountry (crossing rivers is a major one), the concept of bikes as a realistic form of transportation has made it into the mainstream here.
Some of the evidence is easy to spot: Bike lanes, bike paths, school bike routes and governments looking for ways to add more.
Some of the progress is in the early stages. For example, an Intergovernmental Task Force is considering how it can support the Battery2Beach initiative, which would provide a bicycle route from Folly Beach to the Isle of Palms via the Battery.
A donor recently pledged $100,000 to help pay for signage along that route.
And the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, after a study said the area was too car-dependent, has elected to support Battery2Beach as one step toward its mission of seeking out new business growth.
Good for them.
Charleston Moves advocates for alternative transportation like bicycling. Director Tom Bradford recently spoke before Folly Beach City Council about its possible role in Battery2Beach.
The city could become the first to erect B2B signage. Zoning administrator Aaron Pope said B2B might bring a new type of visitor to the city, which has struggled with the wild partying crowds that tend to go to Folly in the summer.
Others embrace bicycling as a way to reduce emissions from automobiles, ease parking problems, improve health and broaden the area’s appeal.
The building momentum toward making the area friendlier for bicyclists should be an inspiration to governmental bodies — and to individuals — to sustain the energy and find ways to turn it into safe bicycling.