Charleston police begin issuing warning citations for new bike ordinance

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The city of Charleston started enforcing a new bicycle ordinance Monday.

Officer Brad Wilson stood near the corner of King and Calhoun Streets and in just a few minutes he stopped four bicyclists for riding on the sidewalk.

"Our biggest mistakes downtown are A. riding on the sidewalks and B. riding against traffic. That is a huge thing with all the one way streets we have," Wilson said.

But instead of issuing a citation, Wilson gave the offenders cards with the rules of riding.

"That's good because there's a lot of people especially downtown who ride bikes everywhere but you see people riding the wrong way up a one way and stuff," said offender Tay McNabb.

McNabb says he has been yelled at when he does ride in the road.

"I've been riding in the roadway and had motorists call me bad names and tell me to get on the sidewalk," McNabb said.

Lt. Chip Searson says the new ordinance removes any requirement to register your bike and the goal is to save lives.

"When three of the six fatalities, auto fatalities we had in the City of Charleston involved a bicyclist, that was a statistic we just couldn't ignore any longer," Searson said.

The ordinance will help to improve safety measures, mainly in the peninsula area of downtown Charleston, and to educate the general public on how to be safe.

Warning citations will take place starting Monday until Oct. 18. At that point municipal citations will be issued to cyclists and motorists who violate the law.

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