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Old 04-14-14, 05:36 AM   #1
stargazer48
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Thinking of relocating to either SC or GA

I am planning to relocate from Thailand.
I have been looking at Columbia and Charleston SC as well as Savannah and Augusta in GA.
Even though, I will have a car, I prefer to use my bicycle for day to day shopping, visiting friends and running errands, as well as recreational exercise.
I've ridden most of my life (I'm over 65) in NYC traffic as well as a number of large Asian cities with no problems.
I just saw on one of the forums a report written in 2012 that southern states tend to be the most dangerous for cyclist and pedestrians, SC being one of the worse, to quote the report "Cyclists are 10 times likelier to be killed in South Carolina than in Oregon".
If true, this would be a big turn off for us to relocate here.
Anyone full time cyclists living in any of the above cities who can shed some light on their sense of safety and how respectful motorists are, not just within the cities but on roads up to 40 miles out?"

Any helpful comments would be appreciated.
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Old 04-14-14, 03:58 PM   #2
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I've visited Savannah several times - never with a bike - but there are cyclists, bike lanes, bike racks, etc everywhere. So I am guessing it is very bike friendly.
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Old 04-15-14, 06:02 PM   #3
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I live in Savannah and parts of it are very bike friendly and also international. It's flat but warm and humid.

Georgians as a rule are no more cyclist friendly than South Carolinians.

I grew up in Augusta, learned to ride in Augusta and won't even consider riding there (the Greater Metro Area) today.

Columbia, SC is the nastiest, next to Macon, GA place to live or ride. Stupid people and hostile to bikes.
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Old 04-15-14, 07:26 PM   #4
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SC is very hostile to bikes. This article --Which wont load on my Mac -- is pretty much applicable to that whole area.
Deadly Charleston intersection encourages risk-taking – The Post and Courier
Note the enlightened politician who explains peds and cyclists have a duty to stay out of cars way
Both old city Charleston and Savannah are stunningly beautiful, though. I love them both from a city standpoint, I think I would prefer Savannah over Charleston to live and ride a bike in, though. Visit both! they are only a relatively short drive apart
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Old 06-08-14, 02:57 PM   #5
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Yes, don't go to SC unless you want to be frustrated. Recommend the NW Atlanta area -- the Silver Comet Trail starts there, and the Atlanta Beltline is up and coming. Atlanta is doing more and more each year to be bicycle-friendly, much more so than most places in SC.
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Old 06-09-14, 10:12 AM   #6
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I live in the Charleston, SC area and am a road rider and near daily bike commuter. It is suffice to say that SC is not very bike friendly, with exception in Downtown Charleston and in Greenville. I understand that Columbia has made great progress as well.

Most of the area, you will find two way roads with narrow 10 foot lanes, no shoulders, and a 55 mph speed limit. This is combined with deep drainage ditches on both sides, alternating deep overshadow by trees, and a population notorious for drunk driving. The motorists here are not particularly hostile or aggressive as a bunch. In fact, they can be downright courteous. SC drivers are considered some of the most courteous in the country. Yes, there are exceptions and you can run into a hostile or aggressive driver anywhere, but cycling here, I have very few problems with the drivers. It is the infrastructure and the drunks that cause the problems.

If you ride here, you will need to take the lane for your own safety. SC drivers seem to be allergic to the horn button, so that's a good thing. You may get yelled at to get on the sidewalk once in a while, but not often.

Most of the pedestrian and cyclist deaths that occur here are either tourists or drunk locals crossing improperly or drunk drivers pasting some poor guy who's minding his own business.

I only ride during the daylight and I avoid the country highways. I hope this helps.

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Old 06-09-14, 10:26 AM   #7
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I lived in charleston for just under two years... it's not a good place for cycling. Down town itself is quite walkable, but getting there is a different story. Drivers aren't looking for you and it's a bit of a retirement-heavy area, so you end up with a lot of people behind the wheel that probably shouldn't be driving anymore. You also get a fair mix of the typical kids being kids, it is a college town and there's still a navy base near by.

That's not to say that you can't find good places to ride. There are probably some quieter roads around Mt. Pleasant that are tolerable for riding, just not as you get closer to Charleston.
At least you are used to the humid weather.

I'd rather be in the northwest corner of SC. I'd rather be in Savannah than Charleston, personally, but then I'm not a big fan of the south in general. Savannah feels more historic, cultural, urban to me (maybe due to the art school there). Charleston is sort of plastic-y, white-washed, and dull (it really struck me as being a retirement town, more than anything).
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Old 06-20-14, 11:09 PM   #8
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Is anyone familiar with Athens Georgia? It seems like it would be a reasonable fit.
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Old 06-20-14, 11:12 PM   #9
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Outskirts of Athens may be good. However, Athens is known for their College life therefore you may not want to have a bunch of kids driving around drunk running you over. Maybe something like Bogart or Lawrenceville. I live in Roswell, AMAZING community for cycling and it only gets better the norther you go. If I could live anywhere and work close to home, Milton It'd be.
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Old 06-21-14, 12:16 PM   #10
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Is anyone familiar with Athens Georgia? It seems like it would be a reasonable fit.
Athens is a fun town, and its built up around the largest University in Georgia, so its by default going to be bike friendly because of all the college students. As a bonus its not too far from Atlanta either.
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Old 06-27-14, 08:56 AM   #11
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I am in Augusta Ga and it seems fine to me....not much different than anywhere else I have lived. A couple great bike shops that have several group rides a week. As for SC/GA...Savannah is an awesome city and would be my top choice, followed by Charleston.....then Greenville.......then Augusta....then Columbia.

Atlanta is an arm pit of traffic...may be great to be a cyclist there but it sucks to be a person there so your call...haha

Charlotte NC would be another city I would consider in the south east area.
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Old 08-24-14, 05:23 PM   #12
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Bit of a stale thread, but....SC isn't that bad. I live in the Columbia area and have had no problems other than the occasional buzz and a bunch of honking - but my philosophy is if they honk at you then at least they see you. I have been to Savannah once, and pretty much just parked my car and got around by bike. Haven't tried riding in Charleston yet. Hilton Head is awesome, though. We have a few pretty good groups that will ride here, with group ride options almost every day of the week, bike lanes, and an active advocacy group who constantly try to make things better. It is just a matter of finding the better secondary roads in the city and knowing the best way to get to the city from the 'burbs. Yeah, it isn't a bike heaven compared to places like Denver, Portland, or any other super big bike area, but it could be much worse.
If you end up here, send me a message! I'll go riding around with you
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Old 12-15-14, 09:05 AM   #13
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Curious to know if the OP has relocated or determined the place of choice. An old acquaintance from my days in south Georgia is a cycling activist in Savannah and works hard to bring cycling culture to the area. I also just got back from Thomasville, GA and that is one place where cycling is not given any consideration (much of the south I guess is this way).
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Old 12-15-14, 09:11 AM   #14
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I've lived in NC for the past 28 years but grew up in Georgia, living all over the state. You can ride anywhere if you choose the right roads and use some common sense. Athens was my favorite place and cycling was my primary means of transportation while attending college there for 7+ years. The greater Atlanta area can be challenging due to the heavy traffic. Savannah was great as well as Valdosta and the N. Georgia mountains.
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Old 12-15-14, 09:23 AM   #15
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Our plans got delayed so we haven't moved yet.
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Old 12-15-14, 11:19 PM   #16
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Our plans got delayed so we haven't moved yet.
Keep us updated when things change, I'm curious as to where you land stateside. I would suggest Savannah based on both the above mentions as well as my connection there at Savannah Bicycle Campaign.
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Old 12-16-14, 05:23 PM   #17
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IDK if you are looking at those specific cities for a reason...but, if you are willing to be up near Atlanta I would highly suggest taking a look into Peachtree City. It is and has been a very 'golf' centric city with cart (bicycle) paths leading everywhere in town. You can access anything you need without having to be on the street much, if at all. The city boasts most anything by way of shopping, eating, and entertainment. Being only 20 miles south of Atlanta and a short bike ride to bus access put that all well within reach as well. There is a great deal of manufacturing, shipping, and tech work, as well as the standard service industry/retail environs to find work if you need.
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