South Carolina has the sad distinction of being one of the most hazardous states in the USA for motorcyclists. Preliminary figures for 2017 indicate that 141 motorcyclists died on our roads that year. While the number is lower than the 2016 fatality figure (187), SC’s motorcycle deaths as a percentage of total traffic fatalities figure is the eighth worst in the country. Of all SC traffic deaths, 18.2 percent of them involved motorcycle riders. The average for the entire nation is 14 percent.
In 2018 during our state’s Memorial Day Weekend, 37 motorcyclists died.
Contributing Fatality Factors
The difficulties don’t rest solely on the shoulders of those who ride. Experienced bikers say the problems in our state include bad roads, careless motorists, and greenhorn motorcycle riders. However, helmet usage plays a large role in the number of deaths because of collisions, and the responsibility for that rests solely on those who ride. SC law requires only those motorcyclists 20 and younger to wear helmets—therefore, many adults do not. This happens despite the fact that nearly three-fourths of bikers who died on SC roadways from 2007 through 2016 were not wearing a helmet. Helmets have been proven to save lives in states that require them; fatality rates tend to be as much as 40 percent lower than in states that do not have mandatory helmet laws for all riders.
Contributing Accident Factors
Helmets keep you from dying in a collision. However, they don’t prevent accidents. More often than not, the passenger vehicle driver is the one who causes the crash. Here is a sampling of the several deadly motorcycle crashes that occurred over the course of about five weeks in SC:
- May 5, 2018: The driver of a Jeep did not stop at a stop sign and turned in front of two motorcycles in Greenwood County. Both motorcyclists died at the scene, with their passengers needing to be hospitalized. The Jeep’s driver was charged with felony DUI resulting in death.
- June 9, 2018: A driver making a left in north Greenville failed to yield to a motorcyclist, who died in the accident. The driver has been charged.
- June 10, 2018: Two persons on a motorcycle near Kershaw, SC, died after an accident with a truck. Neither was wearing a helmet. The SC Highway Patrol is investigating.
Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders
Any experienced motorcycle rider can tell you stories about how it’s the other guy you have to watch out for. For that reason, riding defensively should remain at the top of your mind. Here are some safety tips to think about before you take your bike out of the garage:
- Take a course in motorcycle safety. You might even get a break on your insurance if you do.
- Always wear a helmet that fits and is crashworthy. It’s the easiest way to stay alive.
- Always check your bike each time you ride to ensure that it’s road-worthy.
- Keep your center of gravity in the middle of the bike. If you have an inexperienced passenger, instruct them on how to remain balanced.
- Keep your eye on other vehicles. Remember it is passenger vehicles that often cause motorcycle crashes. Leave yourself room to maneuver your way out of a bad situation.
- Watch out for road hazards and road damage that could cause you to lose control.
- Always adjust your riding to the weather conditions.
- Dress in protective and easily-seen gear.
- If possible, ride a motorcycle that has an antilock braking system (ABS). A motorcycle with ABS is 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
- Never ride an unfamiliar bike in traffic without familiarizing yourself with it first.
- Never ride impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Contact Us For a Free Case Review
Many motorcycle crashes happen because of someone else’s reckless behavior. At the Louthian Law Firm, our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys have represented the rights of motorcycle crash victims since 1959. We know that the time period following a serious collision is often a difficult, trying time. We can help you recover fair compensation for a serious motorcycle crash, including money to pay medical bills, repair costs, lost wages, and other financial expenses caused by the accident. We can also seek compensation for a serious injury or permanent disability as well as compensation for your pain and suffering. Because we know how financially devastating a motorcycle accident can be, we will not charge you a fee until your case is won.