CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – An approximate 7-mile bike ride, which includes a trip across the North Bridge, will highlight the dangers bicyclists face in the Charleston area.
Katie Zimmerman, executive director for Charleston Moves, believes infrastructure of other means of transportation – like biking – is critical in the Lowcountry.
“Safe and connected bicycling infrastructure (is needed) so more people can choose that mode,” she said ahead of Wednesday’s ride.
Zimmerman said the ‘Ride of Silence’ is part of a global annual event hosted on the third Wednesday each May. The cyclists will ride together in silence, honoring those who have died on the roads.
“We will be going over the North Bridge to honor the many, many victims we have lost on that bridge,” explained Zimmerman.
The number of deadly collisions that have happened along the North Bridge is sobering. “Since 2015, four people have been killed on that bridge. Many, many more have been injured,” Zimmerman said.
And it is easy to see why so many have died attempting to cross the bridge; there are no lanes for bikes or pedestrians or even a shoulder. Just a small concrete median to separate the three lanes traveling at high speeds in either direction.
Charleston Moves has been working to get a separate pedestrian and bike bridge built there to help travelers cross safely.
“The county submitted a federal grant application in April to help with the costs,” said Zimmerman.
They should find out if the $30-$35 million project is approved for the grant in August.
“The one that I personally prefer is the one that sort of splits and takes you to two sides of North Charleston.”
If that option is built, there would be a path to the left side of the North Bridge, with another path that veers to the right side of the bridge, ending at the old Baker hospital property which could eventually become a new Charleston County park.
The silent bike ride begins at 6:30 p.m. at Frothy Beard Brewing in West Ashley. It is free to take part thanks to sponsors. But you must be registered by 6:00 p.m.