Brunswick fatality underscores need for connected facilities

As reported by the Florida Times-Union, "a 62-year-old bicyclist was killed Sunday night in a collision with an SUV in Brunswick." 

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" The bicyclist, Joseph Wilson Jr. of Fortaleza Brazil, died in the crash, the state patrol said.

The state patrol said it is believed Wilson was a crewman aboard a ship that called on the Port of Brunswick.

The crash scene is in the southbound lanes just north of 4th Avenue and in a 0.7-mile gap in the concrete bicycle path along the highway. There is a paved three-foot apron outside the fog line, but it has horizontal grooves ground in it to alert motorists who run off the roadway and would be impossible to travel on a bicycle."  [emphasis added]

The "apron" mentioned in the news story is the road shoulder, and the "grooves" are better known as "rumble strips." They are clearly visible in the image below from Google Streetview of this section of Highway 17. What's also clearly visible is the ample, already cleared space available for providing a bike-friendly shoulder, an off-road multi-use path or protected bike lane.

We call on GDOT to make use of the ample shoulder space to create a safe facility for people on bikes. This could be a bikable shoulder (6.5' wide with skip pattern rumbles), a protected bike lane, or a multi-use path alongside the roadway. Alternatively, bike route signage and a clear paved connection to parallel Lanier Boulevard could be implemented.

These improvements will save lives and boost Brunswick's economic development by positioning the city as a welcoming destination for outdoor activities, including bicycle tourism. With the imminent gathering of a Joint Study Committee on the Coastal Georgia Greenway, the time is now to plan for and build bicycle friendly facilities in coastal Georgia cities like Brunswick.

In a timely coincidence, we are offering a free workshop on July 15th in Brunswick. This workshop will cover roadway and intersection design for improved bicyclist - and pedestrian - safety. Space is limited, so please register now if you would like to attend.