Charleston: 2016’s Worst City for Bicycling

Now here’s a #1 ranking that’s hard to celebrate. Bicycling magazine just proclaimed our city as the worst in the nation for bicycling. For a place with amazing natural assets, a rich culture and a bustling economy, that’s a pretty embarrassing callout. We’ve banished one of the most democratic forms of transportation, and a key tool that can remedy traffic congestion and our poor health, to the garage.

I ride a bike around Charleston for a number of reasons. Two of which are that I’m cheap and don’t want to pay for parking or gas, and impatient and don’t want to sit in traffic. But probably my biggest motivator for riding to work, to make visits, to do errands and just get around, is that I feel like I’m more connected to the energy of the city and community that I call home. That’s hard to accomplish when you’re locked up in a car or frantically looking for a parking space (it’s easy with public transit, but we’re challenged in that area too). Maybe it’s not the most heroic reason to ride a bike every day (as compared to those who ride really challenging commutes, who ride long distances to school, who use a bike as their only means of transportation), but that feeling of connectedness is important to me and should be part of experiencing any great city.

Unfortunately, our regional leadership doesn’t value this democratic form of transportation. We’re arguing about whether bicycle transit (and better public transit) is even needed, not how to do it best. We’re sapping the strength of our community, becoming less competitive on a national/world stage, and making it harder for the next generation of impatient cheapskates to embrace city life.

Let’s get the Ashley River Bridge lane done, focus our attention on the priority short list of bike/pedestrian connection points and public transit improvements, and help our community shine.

Photo Credit: Charleston Moves Visit and support them if you want to see Charleston on the “best” list.