What will it take to make Savannah bicycle friendly?

What will it take to make Savannah bicycle friendly?

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A number of you ride your bicycle to work or class in Savannah, and if you don't, you often share the road with those cyclists.

A recent proposal to ban bikes from Forsyth Park has many wondering if Savannah will ever become a more bike-friendly city.

Price Street, one of the few streets downtown that actually has a bike lane, to this day is drawing mixed reviews from folks around here. The bike lane change happened about four years ago now.

"We were going down Bull and then we decided we should come over to Price because we know we're not going to run into a bunch of cars," said Sydney Veverka, SCAD student.

For that reason, Veverka and her friend use the Price Street bike lane almost every day.

"I think Savannah still has a lot of room to grow. It's definitely considered a bike city, seeing how many people bike, but I don't know if I would give it an A-plus in bike friendliness," said Abby Schultz, SCAD student.

That's something city officials want to change. They've developed a bike "master plan" and are looking at the possibility of adding bike lanes to some major roads in the city, something all the cyclists WTOC spoke with Friday would love to see.

"One or two extra bike lanes going north-south, and one or two going east-west would be a huge help. That would reduce a lot of accidents, if there are any, but also just make it a little more peace of mind for people who bike," said Nathaniel Mellor, Savannah cyclist.

Candidates include Whitaker, Drayton, Anderson, and Henry streets – that would mean either making those lanes narrower or reducing the number of lanes, like they did on Price Street.

"The good thing about making lanes narrower is that does act as some friction for motorists, and it does slow down motorists," said City of Savannah Spokesperson Bret Bell.

In theory, a win-win for the safety of both cars and bikes, but not everyone was a fan of the changes on Price Street.

"It's hard when you're in the left lane and trying to make a right turn in your vehicle. It's very difficult, because the bikers are coming, and you have to stop for them. It's not a safe situation as far as I can see," said Joanne Addison, lives near Price Street.

While the city admits that change didn't come without controversy, they hope future changes will just be a matter of adjusting and that in the long-run, it will mean a more bike-friendly Savannah.

It's important to remember that future changes aren't going to come all at once. The city is conducting several transportation studies too.

WTOC reached out to the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Dept. regarding the history of bicycle-involved incidents on Price Street. According to the Traffic Unit, it has a record of four bike related accident reports on Price Street in 2015.

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