YOU THOUGHT TO BRING YOUR OWN BIKE? GOOD FOR YOU!
Hilton Head is praised as a bicyclist's paradise, with more than 60 miles of shared pathways and 12 miles of shoreline where you can cruise smoothly across the beach. Here are laws every driver and biker should know...
RIGHT OF WAY LAWS ARE TRICKY AT CROSSWALKS
South Carolina law indicates that motorists must yield to pedestrians and bicyclists within marked crosswalks, but that's not always the case, depending on who arrives at the intersection first. This means that motorists have the right-of-way at crossings over folks waiting to cross, but must yield to bicyclists/pedestrians that they encounter who may have already entered the crosswalk.
PEDESTRIANS STAY LEFT, CYCLISTS STAY RIGHT
Cyclists who want to use the road have the right to do so, but they must ride with the flow of traffic, according to South Carolina law. Pedestrians, on the other hand, are safer on the left side of pathways and roads, where they can easily see approaching traffic.
BICYCLISTS MUST FOLLOW ALL SIGNS
Those little stop signs next to bike paths are not for decoration. This means pathway signs are official traffic control devices as defined in the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and state law requires bicyclists and pedestrians to comply with all official traffic control devices and applicable laws concerning right-of-way.
LIGHT UP YOUR BIKE
Most sections of pathways are not illuminated. If you decide to ride at night, South Carolina law requires that you have a front light and a red reflector. Some drivers have enough trouble seeing bikes during the day; don't assume they see you at night. That goes for pedestrians as well. This means if you're biking, walking or running anywhere on Hilton Head at night, do whatever you can to be visible.
COMMUNICATE WHILE SHARING THE ROADS
South Carolina law requires cyclists on the road to use hand signals when turning or stopping. If you're riding on the road, make eye contact with drivers, be alert and predictable. On pathways, bicyclists should communicate with approaching pedestrians, be aware of their surroundings, and always pass on the left. This means when approaching slower pathway users from behind, it's best to give an audible signal, such as ringing your bell or calling out "Passing on your left" to let other pathway users know of your approach and intentions.
It's against the law for motorists to harass or throw things at cyclists. It's also dangerous, rude, and could cost you a $250 fine or 30 days in jail.