Home to over 100 miles of public bike paths and 50 more of private paths, Hilton Head is one of America’s most friendly biking communities, even earning the silver award from the League of American Bicyclists. While Hilton Head is so bike friendly, it only remains that way through great community support and regulations. To make sure everyone stays safe and has a great time, here are a few helpful suggestions you should know about when considering biking on the Island.
Private vs. Public Bike Paths
Bike Path Safety
While you may be riding on a bike path and not the road, anyone on a bike is subject to the same traffic laws as a vehicle. What this means is you must stop at stop signs, obey marked paths, and make sure to ride on the right hand side and pass on the left. That being said, try to remember that you are sharing the bike path with pedestrians and you must yield to them and travel at safe speeds.
Biking on the Beach
The beaches here on Hilton Head have very compact sand which makes them absolutely ideal for riding bikes in the sand, especially at low tide where there is more space to ride throughout the beach. Some rental companies offer specific bikes made for riding on the beach, so be sure to ask about those, in addition to their policies. Just remember that saltwater is corrosive and can rust your bike, so don’t to ride directly into the water.
With such a big biking community, of course there would be multiple bike rental companies on the island. Many require a reservation 72 hours in advance, and can even deliver your bikes to your vacation rental or condo. Some companies have baby supplies, such as high chair seats, beds and kiddie karts to tow behind your bicycle. Basket rentals are usually free with the rental of any bike.
Beach cruisers aren’t the only types of bikes available on Hilton Head. A new rental company, called Uzip, is renting out e-bikes, or electric bikes, so people can go a little faster and a little further on their island exploration. Riders can pedal the e-bikes like a normal bicycle or they can twist the throttle on the handlebar to give them a little boost from the motor, located above the back tire. E-bikes are considered to be bicycles not motor vehicles and can be ridden on all of the public pathways on Hilton Head, but unfortunately they’re not yet approved on resort bike paths, such as Sea Pines or Palmetto Dunes.
Biking with Younger Children
Biking is a great family activity, especially on Hilton Head, but safety is the main concern. Helmets are required for children up to 14 years of age, and strongly recommended for everyone. Most rental companies have bikes for younger children and some even offer gender specific bikes.
Parking your Bike
Because Hilton Head is such a biking community, you can easily find bike racks everywhere you go. All private establishments have bike racks, as do public parks and beaches. The only problem is that they tend to fill up rather quickly, especially during the height of the summer season when everyone is out riding. So what happens when the racks are filled up? You don’t want to leave your bike unchained, since the vast majority of bikes stolen on the island are those that are unchained. Many people attach their bikes to poles, benches, or any other stationary objects when the bike racks have reached capacity. While this technically isn’t illegal, it is frowned upon, so use this as a last resort when locking up your bike. As a rule of thumb just make sure your bike is locked and is not parked in the way of foot traffic.
Please remember to ride safely, and have an amazing time!