Charleston OKs part of bike ordinance; parking rules deferred

By Sheldon Dutes  bio | email | Twitter 

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - If you like to bike around the downtown peninsula you may want to think twice before locking your bike up to a meter, tree or lamp post. If you do, you might find a city lock on your bike, or have to shell out $45 to get it back.

It is all part of a new city bicycle ordinance that the Charleston City Council continues to work on.

During Tuesday night's meeting the city council passed the bulk of the bicycle ordinance with the exception of the section on parking, which has been deferred for another 60 days.

"What we've decided to do is take a comprehensive look at the different ordinances that affect bikes and pedestrians in the city of Charleston," Councilman Mike Seekings said. "We want to make sure everyone's on the same page and that we can make Charleston a great bike friendly place."

Under the new ordinance, abandoned bicycles left on city streets for more than seven days would be seized by the city. It would also be illegal to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk, and bike registration fees could go up.

It is currently $1 to register your bike with the Charleston Police Department, but that could go up to a "price set by city council."

Kristin Walker lives downtown and is an avid bike rider.

"I bike to work, to run my errands and to go out to eat," Walker said.

Although Walker likes most of the bike ordinance, she would also like to see some changes.

"For the most part, I agree with it. It's the bike parking section I don't agree with," Walker said. "Unless [the city] offers us other options or allow businesses to put bike racks in front of their stores."

Council member Mike Seekings, who bikes to every council meeting, agrees some aspects of the ordinance must be worked out, specifically the parking clause.

"We really don't have places to park. So, if we're going to make it illegal to park somewhere, we better make it legal to park somewhere too," Seekings said.

Dan Kelley, director of Holy City Bike Co-Op, is confident the city will reach a compromise that works for everyone.

"They know that need to put infrastructure out there, a legal parking facility before they can start declaring and enforcing the illegal ones," Kelley said.

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