Aiken Bicyclists Plan to Fight for Shared Lanes

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Aiken County, S.C. – Aiken locals are having a tough time sharing the road.

Tuesday City Commissioners voted against the request to incorporate shared lanes as part of the widening project on Silver Bluff Road, but bikers aren’t giving up on the project just yet.

The Aiken county bicycle pedestrian advisory committee has requested that a mile stretch of Silver Bluff Road be made into shared lanes.

This does not mean they are bike lanes, the shared lane signals drivers to watch out for bike riders, but the planning commission doesn’t see room for that in this project.

Tom Lex, Chairman for the Aiken County Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee says the planning commission made the wrong decision.

“We don’t feel in the planning commission process that we were given the proper process to refute misinformation, incorrect information, from those who are opposed to this,” Tom Lex said.

Tom Lex says having shared lanes would increase the safety for everyone in the area, bikers and drivers alike.

He says it will also lower the speed limit from 45mph to 35mph and that would lower the noise level for nearby residents.

Lex says he and others have a right to bike on the road and they will continue to do so with or without a shared lane, he just wants to be safe.

“Given that that right exists by law, it is in the best interest of elected officials who one of their charges is to provide public safety protection, and safety, we need to add to that safety by including share the lane markings on this road,” Lex said.

He says the South Carolina’s DOT’s widening project on Silver Bluff road is a multimillion dollar project and making it bicycle friendly would only cost them a small portion of that much larger chunk.

The planning commission will give their recommendation to the city council on June 22nd. The bicycle pedestrian committee will also be there to share their side.

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