Cyclist accident on DI stokes pedestrian safety fears
On May 20, a female cyclist was hit by a car at the entrance to Daniel Island’s Publix shopping center on Seven Farms Drive. The motorist was turning right onto Seven Farms Drive when the bike rider attempted to turn left into the grocery store parking lot. According to the traffic collision report filed by the Charleston Police Department, the cyclist flipped onto the windshield of the vehicle before falling onto the pavement. From the description given to the police by both parties, officers on scene were not able to determine who was at fault for the accident. It is unclear from the police report if the cyclist was on the sidewalk or on the street. According to Charleston Police Lieutenant Patrick McLaughlin, the individual was transported to MUSC by Berkeley County EMS and was released after treatment for minor injuries. Bike and vehicle collisions have been a relatively common occurrence around the Charleston area, with several cyclists in the last year dying from injuries sustained by motor vehicles, including one this month in North Charleston. The accident on Seven Farms Drive could have been worse than it was, but residents have used it to reignite discussion about pedestrian safety on the island. “I never pull out that way to head home to the park side for that very reason - I cannot see. No one can,” one resident posted via Facebook. There’s a precedent for motor vehicle collisions with bicycles on the island. In 2013, a 12-year-old girl was hit by a car at a crosswalk on Etiwan Park Street and Seven Farms Drive. Earlier that year, another 12-year-old child was hit by a car. Both children walked away with just bruises. Kristen Singleton, whose son was struck by a car near Daniel Island School in 2014, said that the island has come a long way since her child’s accident, but it hasn’t been enough. “We’ve gotten some major crosswalks, which is always a good thing, and we’ve marked some blind parking spots along the four-way intersection,” she stated. “Little by little, it’s happening, but I think that there’s just so much more that needs to be addressed.” “We have to have some sort of effort now to decongest some of the more popular well-travelled roads on Daniel Island,” she added. In 2016, another student was hit on their bike while heading to Daniel Island School. The incident occurred at the intersection of Pierce Street and Daniel Island Drive. It also did not threaten the child’s life. The cyclist in the most recent incident was 23 years old. Some residents posting on social media used the incident as a case against street parking at the shopping center’s entrance across from the Family Circle Tennis Center, arguing that it restricts vision when turning onto Seven Farms Drive. It’s difficult to gauge from the collision report if the on-street parking was a factor in the accident. Daniel Island Neighborhood Association and City Council candidate Marie Delcioppo will use DINA’s new safety information campaign, Safer Streets, to discuss security for cyclists this week. Delcioppo said that she personally does not advocate for on-street parking on Daniel Island. “It is the single biggest complaint I receive, and I have experienced my own concerns with it as an avid runner and someone driving the island frequently,” she commented. The DINA president suggested solving the problem with the City of Charleston Traffic and Transportation Department. The Rotary Club of Daniel Island and City Council candidate Angela Drake are planning a team that will provide educational programs for traffic and pedestrian safety. “The goal is to get this group together, within the next two or three weeks, and have it prepared for the back to school days in August,” noted Drake. The major topic thus far for the group is bike and pedestrian safety tips, she continued. If the Rotary Club’s education campaign is up and running by August, it will begin just as the Safer Streets program is ending. Traffic safety has been a popular concern for island residents in the last month. Sparked by the roundabout construction at the intersection of Seven Farms Drive and Daniel Island Drive, citizens gathered at a DINA meeting earlier this month to voice their complaints over drivers ignoring crosswalks. Some residents at the May 7 meeting claimed to regularly see motorists moving past pedestrian crossings, despite the flashing warning lights indicating folks on foot.