Martin “Gator” Cochran stood in a sprinkle of rain on the edge of the Greeneway at Riverview Park on Sunday afternoon, giving out brochures and talking to cyclists and others as they passed by, hoping to better educate people on bicycle, pedestrian and motor vehicle safety.
The outreach was sponsored by the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, of which Cochran is a board member. He is also a board member of Friends of the Greenway and Wheel Movement and is a certified instructor with the League of American Bicyclists.
“All of the Friends of the Greeneway meetings are open to the public,” said Cochran. “It’s a great place to find out what you can and can’t do on the Greeneway, find out what’s going on and offer your input on walking, cycling, strolling your babies, whatever you’d like to see. We’re constantly expanding and improving.”
The next Friends of the Greeneway meeting will be June 4 at 6 p.m. at Riverview Park Activities Center.
The education outreaches are for everyone, not just those using the Greeneway, he said.
“Today, we’re giving out literature, answering questions for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians,” he said. “We started last year putting together more classes for schools, colleges, camps and civic groups.”
A Confident Cycling Class will be conducted from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, which will be sponsored by Wheel Movement. It teaches everything from choosing a bike to changing a tire.
Cochran said there are three types of bicycle riders on the road: cyclists, joyriders and those who ride out of necessity. Unfortunately, those who ride out of necessity are the least likely to know the rules of the road, he said adding all cyclists in the state should know the South Carolina Bicycle Laws-Article 27.
Being visible is the number one rule of the road as far as bicyclists and pedestrians are concerned, he said.
“Many do not have reflectors and wear bright clothing,” he said. “Believe it not, many do not know they are not supposed to ride facing the traffic.”
As far as motorists, many don’t know how to go around bicyclists, he said.
Cochran said that Motorists should share the road more. They need to give adequate room and take a split second of patience. He said, however, their number one fault is not being focused on the road and and can’t see bicyclists and pedestrians. In his experience, only about one percent of motorists are not respectful of cyclists, he said.
“More people are doing this, educating the public,” he said.