Driveway stops confusing, a problem for bicyclists

info@islandpacket.comJuly 27, 2012 

As a regular rider along Hilton Head Island's bike paths, I have noticed inconsistent use of stop signs at driveway crossings.

For example, most driveways are free of any signs along the right-side path from Coligny Circle to Sea Pines Circle. In contrast, we have stop signs for bicycles at every driveway along New Orleans Road, with no signs whatsoever for vehicles. Some of these stop signs are less than 100 feet apart and there is even one at the entrance to an empty lot.

The Hilton Head Municipal Code, Section 12-1-511, does not mention rights-of-way beyond stating that bicycles must obey all traffic signals and pathway markings. State law requires motorists to yield to bicyclists on pathways. If cyclists have the right of way, why are they randomly required to stop at some driveway crossings and not others?

Regardless, the reality of the situation is that bicyclists are generally ignoring all signs at driveway crossings, and there is no enforcement. Part of the problem is the difficulty bicyclists have in hopping on and off their bicycles at every sign. Small children have an especially difficult time.

These issues need to be addressed by first determining the safest, practical approach to signage and rights of way, standardizing and providing education and enforcement.

Brian Hawthornthwaite

Hilton Head Island

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