Cyclist, pedestrian deaths in Beaufort Co has neighbor changing route

(Bluffton, SC) – A spike in cyclist and pedestrian deaths in the Lowcountry has some longtime neighbors changing their habits.

In 43 years nothing’s changed about the path outside Jack Bush’s home on Goethe Road, except for all for he’ll walk past the mailbox.

“I don’t even walk that way because you have to stay in the ditch,” Bush said.  “ZOOM…by the time I get to the front from the highway, they’re down there at the community center- the speed is just ridiculous,” he added.

He’s heard words of hope some sidewalks would come along his roadway but so far, no signs of cement in the ground.

“I’ve got a couple friends who ride bicycles and I feel for them every day,” he said.

If you consider the numbers, he has reason.

Last year Beaufort County had its highest  pedestrian and cyclist fatalities in years–11 in all. Not even three months in, there’s already been two.

SC Highway Patrol’s Lance Corporal Matt Southern said the causes of the fatalities vary by case, but a greater awareness for all parties could slow the problem.

Focus on the rules- not convenience, he said.

“If the light is green for traffic to continue down the road, then as a pedestrian we still have to yield that right of way until it’s safe for us to go across,” he said.

But until Bush sees drivers hitting the brakes, he’s staying put.

“It’s a risk to actually walk that road.  I don’t,” he said.

The Highway Patrol also recommends “retro-reflective” vests if you are walking or biking in the evening hours. The reflectors can be spotted from 500 feet away.

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