Cyclists could soon be riding legally on the connector

Bicycles are currently illegal on the James Island Connector (Joe O'Neill/WCIV)

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Cyclists could soon be riding legally on the James Island Connector.

The Coastal Conservation League and Charleston Moves along{}with the Department of Transportation drafted a bill that would{}allow cyclists to pedal the connector. It has been introduced to legislation and is sitting on the governor's desk.

"It would allow cities to make their own decisions whether these types of bridges should be open, limited access bridges and roadways should be open," said Dana Beach, executive director of Coastal Conservation League.

Cyclists can find it difficult to get from point A to point B if it involves the connector, but some have no other choice than to ride it illegally.

"I ride it now and I just stop at the exit ramps and wait until the traffic clears up and go across. It's not the least safe thing you can do. It's safer to do that even with the 55mph speed limit then it is to go over the Ashley and the Wappoo," said Beach.

{}Avid cyclists, like Stephanie Hunt, are hoping that they will soon be back on the bridge legally.

"Right now there is no safe way to get to a large chunk of where a lot of people live and work," said Hunt. "It really needs to be done and we feel strongly and are grateful for the city's support and understanding."

City officials say that they are working with bike advocacy groups to determine how{}to safely open this road to bikers.

And those who worked on the bill have ideas for how this goal could be accomplished.

"Simultaneously what the City of Charleston should do is have the signs come down, but be prepared for safer conditions on the bridge," said Beach.

Those could include lower speed limits for drivers and barriers to separate cyclists from traffic.

The governor has until Tuesday to sign or veto the bill. If she does nothing then the bill becomes law, which means it would be in the city's hands to allow bikers back on the connector.

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