First, the Greenville Spinners would like to thank each of you for your personal and financial contributions of the club. Part of this support goes to organizing advocacy initiatives at the local and state level. Although 2020 has been an unusual year to say the least, we look forward to continuing our work for better cycling in Greenville and in South Carolina in 2021. We hope that you will join us in these efforts.
At the county and municipal level, the Spinners continue to advocate for expanded and improved cycling infrastructure. We support the great work of Bike Walk Greenville, a local advocacy organization, which achieved a number of successes in 2020. Most notably among them were:
- Pushing for dedicated bike lanes (in many areas where sharrows were the norm) in the new downtown master plan;
- Direction on repaving the Swamp Rabbit Trail; and
- Encouraging the City Council to run a public information and education campaign (which is set to begin this spring) for slower vehicle speeds in city neighborhoods.
In December, Spinners staff met with Greenville City’s mobility coordinator, who is responsible for implementing the Parks & Recreation Department’s walking and cycling policy initiatives. We plan to continue these conversations and find ways that our members can both support transportation policies that make cycling better in the city and have their concerns heard.
(Note that, in years past, the Spinners have done a fantastic job of recruiting volunteers for the Department’s free “bike valet” service at major downtown festivals, including Artisphere and Fall for Greenville. These events were cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, but please keep an eye out for opportunities in the future. The City greatly appreciates the support we have given them in the past.)
At the state level, we will be supporting the Palmetto Cycling Coalition’s (PCC) legislative agenda, which includes two measures for the 2021 session that started in early January. The first bill is a “Hands Free Bill” that would prohibit motorists from holding cell phones while driving. Currently, in South Carolina, it is against the law to text and drive. But the fine is nominal––only $25––and the infraction is difficult to prove and rarely enforced. This bill would increase fines and allow law enforcement to ticket motorists for holding phones for any purpose while driving. The second PCC-supported bill would implement a “3-Foot Law,” to require a three-foot distance for motorists passing cyclists on the open road. More than half of all states have such a requirement, as well as many individual municipalities across the country. Both of these measures gained steam during the COVID-shortened, 2020 legislative session.
PCC will be holding a virtual “lobby day” to promote these bills, although a specific date has not yet been selected. If any Spinners members have been impacted by distracted driving or clipped by a closely passing vehicle, and are interested in testifying to the importance of these laws, please let us know. Or, reach out to PCC’s executive director, Amy Johnson Ely (firstname.lastname@example.org), directly.
Amy at PCC also is looking for constituents of Rep. Adam Morgan, who is the new chair of the House Education and Public Works Committee. The bills mentioned above will likely end up in his committee after they are moved through the State Senate, and we want to make sure he hears from some of the advocates in his Taylors, SC, district who support these bills. See this map to discover if you or someone you know is in his district. It doesn’t have to be anyone who has been directly impacted by these bills, just any constituent who is concerned about safer cycling. Thanks for any help you can give.
— Jeremy Williams, Advocacy Chair