Accelerating risk to pedestrians
David Quick’s penetrating column of July 16 concerning bicycle-pedestrian collisions on the Ravenel Bridge cries out for all possible retrofitted corrections of the site. It also cries out for training pedestrians and cyclists in mandatory use of allotted paths — even should a totally improbable $100 bill blow by. Oh yes, and memorable fines for violators.
Now, as to downtown sidewalks: These are pedestrian lanes. Stepping from a piazza door at a 90 degree angle from the street has become perilous due to high-speed bicyclists who “see no one on the street ahead for half a block.” Walking to work on Coming Street, I have had numerous brushes with hell-for-leather bicyclists bearing down from my rear screaming “Coming through!” — if they are among the more considerate.
Almost all trust their skill to evade me, stock still with apprehension, as they maneuver past from either direction, speed unabated and with inches to spare.
Sidewalks historically evolved from “the gutter.” Once the meek “gave the gutter,” that is scurried over into the riskier carriage way, when “roaring boys” bore down in 17th century Charleston, or London. That problem was purportedly solved here until bicyclists on sidewalks channeled the “roaring boys” of yore. These riders are now by law entitled to full sway in what once was “the gutter” on the right hand side of any road plus whatever bicycle lanes now exist.
It would do wonders both for safety and good will if pedestrians would strictly abide by designated walkways, where such exist, and if bicyclists would follow state law concerning their use of the road.
I do not at this time have anything further to add to the clash (not, I trust, “crash”) between auto drivers and bicyclists, so regularly aired in these columns, except heartfelt wishes for safety, knowledge of and conformity with all regulations.