The City Paper's Joshua Curry recently went out for two bike rides across the Ashley River bridge. The first was to simply get a feel for it. The second was to document the ride with video.
Shortly after the first ride, we received this message from Curry, and, quite frankly, judging by what he said, we're surprised he went back for round two.
Here's what Curry had to say.
The ride over was not that bad. Nobody else on the bridge. Cool sunset. Mellow incline. But the ride back was pretty damn hairy.
Keep in mind, the sun was behind me, and the cars were hitting 45mph+ past the top of the bridge, and I was riding against traffic. And it seemed like every 10th driver was on a cellphone while the sun was shining straight into their eyes. One guy even had to make a pretty sharp correction while on the metal surface of the drawbridge to keep from hitting the edge of the sidewalk.
I'd say the sidewalk was effectively 3/4 the width of a regular sidewalk. The stone railing covers about six inches of that. And there are a lot of rocks, glass, and dirt near the edge that makes the sidewalk sketchy to ride on.
I encountered another biker near the drawbridge ,and she came to a full stop and leaned against the railing to let me by. Since I was on the right side, I didn't have much of an option. She tried to work a forced smile, but it seemed like a regular irritation for her.
Two Citadel joggers came up near the bottom of the bridge. They stopped jogging and also leaned back against the railing to let me by. I bet a bunch of those guys jog that bridge all the time.
The crosswalk at the bottom goes to the right, so in order to cross the road, you legally have to go a full block down and then into MUSC to do it. All the crosswalks and sidewalks to nowhere are a clusterfuck at both sides of the bridge.
Passable? Sure. But, there is no way it can handle casual two-way sidewalk traffic. Imagine if some dude's flip-flops slipped while he was pedalling a cruiser across that mess. It may work, but there's not much room for anything to go wrong.