Charleston Accident Lawyer Says James Island Connector Controversy Should Lead to Greater Bicycle Safety Awareness

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Personal injury attorney Ken Harrell of Charleston’s Joye Law Firm says the city needs to focus on making sure that car drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians safely share the road.

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Charleston accident lawyer Ken Harrell

We hope the current spotlight on James Island and the measures that authorities have adopted to avoid bicycle-car and pedestrian-car accidents will create a lasting awareness among motorists throughout South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

Charleston accident lawyer Ken Harrell today expressed hope that a controversial ban on bicycles on the James Island connector bridge will bring much-needed awareness to the dangers created when cars, bicycles, and pedestrians fail to share the road, although he hopes the city will reconsider the ban.

“The rules of the road and an individual’s duty to the safety of their fellow travelers apply to everyone, including protecting bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Harrell, managing partner at Joye Law Firm, a Charleston personal injury firm that provides legal assistance to people across South Carolina who are injured in bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents.

“We hope the current spotlight on James Island and the measures that authorities have adopted to avoid bicycle-car and pedestrian-car accidents will create a lasting awareness among motorists throughout South Carolina’s Lowcountry,” he said.

Crossing the limited-access bridge between Charleston and James Island on foot or by bicycle has long been against state law, but thousands of bicyclists have used the bridge since it was constructed.

However, Friday marked the first appearance of signs on the connector that proclaimed the prohibition, the Charleston Post and Courier reported. Violators could pay a $100 fine or spend 30 days in jail, but police say they hope to educate cyclists caught on the bridge and avoid issuing citations.

Questions about cyclists’ use of the bridge were raised last summer when a 54-year-old bicycle rider died after being hit by a van and thrown from the bridge into the marsh below, according to ABC News 4.

During debate among drivers and cycling advocates in the aftermath of the wreck, Charleston officials admitted that neither bicycles nor pedestrians were supposed to be on the span, the TV station said.

Cycling enthusiasts maintain that the James Island connector is safer than alternative routes to the island, and that the ban is likely to result in more collisions between cars and bicycles elsewhere, the station reported.

“We hope for safety’s sake that every driver, rider and walker, no matter where they are, will keep their mind on their surroundings and who or what is using the road alongside them,” Harrell said. “It’s unfortunate that the city has decided to take action to keep bicyclists off of the James Island connector because it’s clearly safer than the other bridges leading into Charleston from James Island and west Ashley. I hope the city will reconsider the ban.”

Harrell and the Joye Law Firm prosecute personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in cases in which pedestrians and cyclists are injured or killed in wrecks involving automobiles and negligent drivers. Harrell said individuals injured in such accidents or the loved ones of those involved in fatal collisions often face long and costly recoveries in addition to pain and grief.

“Awareness is the key to fewer people being hurt or killed in bicycle-car and pedestrian-car accidents,” Harrell said.

“In the meantime, we at Joye Law remain dedicated to the promotion of traffic safety and to the rights of South Carolinians who are injured when people flout traffic laws and other rules of the road and society.”

About Joye Law Firm

Since 1968, Joye Law Firm has been fighting to help people throughout South Carolina with their legal challenges in a broad range of practice areas, including personal injury, car accidents, birth injury, brain injury, defective products, drug injury, motorcycle accidents, nursing home abuse, Social Security disability, spinal cord injury, traffic tickets, truck accidents, workers’ compensation and wrongful death. The South Carolina law firm has offices in Charleston and Myrtle Beach and assists clients in areas that include Mount Pleasant, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner and Summerville. To learn more, contact the firm by calling (888) 324-3100 or filling out its online form.

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