For the record, the much-ballyhooed new bike lanes that the City of Charleston recently placed on Chapel St. in the Mazyck-Wraggborough neighborhood aren't really bike lanes. They are, um, "guide markings," whatever the hell that is.
And evidently, what to call the bike lanes, I mean, guide markings, has been a point of contention between bike advocacy group Charleston Moves and the City of Charleston. According to a post made by head Charleston Move's head cyclist, Tom Bradford, the bike advocacy group wanted to call the bike lanes ... crap, there I go again...
Let me start over.
According to a post made by head Charleston Move's head cyclist, Tom Bradford, the bike advocacy group wanted to call the guide markings along Chapel Street bike lanes, but the city said no.
The City of Charleston, SC, named a "Bicycle-Friendly City" by the League of American Bicyclists last year (at the bronze level) got its first downtown bike lanes today. But the City's Traffic and Transportation Department chose to call the lanes Bicycle "Guide Markings" because they don't meet some width guidelines. The lanes are three feet wide and will stretch all the way from East Bay Street, transitioning to John Street to make the connection with King Street, where bicycle traffic is quite heavy.
Nevertheless, it was a cause for some jubilation among forward-thinking folks in the city, and certainly welcome news for the burgeoning number of people opting to travel, at least some of the time, by bicycle.
Hmm. Now exactly why would the city insist on using the term "guide markings," which, quite frankly, is the kind of nutless phrase that only team of government lackey's can up with? I'm not exactly sure, but if you ask me, this guide marking BS has that certain "city attorney" smell to it doesn't it?
Consider this: A 2008 state law requires cyclists must use a bike lane when a bike lane is available.
So why would the city create bike lanes for cyclists to ride down and not call them bike lanes?
Well, having driven down Chapel since the guide markings were put in place, I can tell you flat out: These new bike paths are frikkin dangerous. They place the cyclist right up against the cars parked along Chapel. And as any cyclist will tell you, you're more worried about the driver ahead of you opening a car door than a car coming up behind you, and I say that from experience.
For two years I biked to work in Honolulu through the cramped streets of Chinatown and the busy streets of King and Beretania. Hell, I've ridden a bike through downtown Chicago during rush hour. And I wouldn't ride down in these so-called lanes on Chapel Street.
And evidently, neither would this out-of-state bike advocate.