I’m an avid bicycle commuter and have seen first-hand the difference cycling infrastructure can make when it comes to road safety. Protected bike lanes are the absolute best way to accommodate bike traffic, and they’ve been proven to decrease injury crashes by up to 40% for all road users. Yup, that means cars and pedestrians too. I can agree with the difference protected lanes make by using my own bike commute as an example.
I can commute to my work, about 4 miles, using 90% park trails or protected bike lanes. This wasn’t the case just 6 months ago – only about 60% of my commute was protected. With our own protected bike lanes comes our own cycle stop lights at intersections. Before we would use the same green light like everyone else. Those taking left turns would have a green arrow and would almost turn into me everyday. Now I have my own green light that stops all turning traffic into my lane. This isn’t just good for cyclists, this improves the safety for pedestrians drastically as well.
I’m lucky to live in Austin, a city who’s cycling population has been exploding in recent years. This isn’t the case in most of America’s streets, especially South Carolina. In SC only 10% of cycling related fatalities are children or the elderly. The vast majority are working age men, most likely on their way to or from their job. With stats like these the average South Carolinian may be too afraid to try bike commuting. South Carolina needs to step it up and start promoting safe cycling for the greater good.