Supporting Safe Cycling in South Carolina
Many of us love to ride bicycles – for convenient, economical transportation and just for the fun of it. South Carolina offers an almost endless array of beauty and adventure for touring cyclists and off-roaders alike. But, South Carolina is in the top 5 states for bicycle fatalities.
At the Louthian Law Firm, we’re bicycle enthusiasts and we’re advocates of laws which can make two-wheeled transportation more enjoyable and safer. You can read more about our support for the 3-foot passing law here and learn more about promoting safe cycling in our infographic.
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Biking in South Carolina: By the Numbers
Our Demographic Shift
- South Carolina has seen a population growth of over 15% in recent years, placing us in the Top 10 fastest growing states nationally.1
- Median Age of our citizens: 37.9 years old 1
Safety & Cycling
- In communities with a higher % of commuters riding bicycles, fatalities DECREASED. 1
- In the Top 5 worst states for the HIGHEST BICYCLIST FATALITY rate. 1
- In the bottom 3 states for the lowest spending on bicycle and pedestrian projects. 1
- South Carolina averages 15 bicycle fatalities each year – only 10% of these are children or above 64 years old. The majority of bicycle fatalities are working age men.
- 25% of S.C. schools participate in the Safe Routes to Schools Program (SRTS) – above the national average of 17%. 1
- Children (5-14 years), adolescents, and young adults (15-24 years) have the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries, accounting for almost 60% of all bicycle-related injuries seen in U.S. emergency departments. 2
- In 2012, 18 percent of the bicyclists injured in motor vehicle crashes were 14 and younger. 3
- Bicyclists are twice as likely as motorcyclists to sustain head injuries in a crash. 4
- Streets with protected bike lanes saw 90 percent fewer injuries per mile than those with no bike infrastructure. 5
Advocacy & Policy Initiatives
- Master Plans & ‘Complete Street’ strategies that provide safe access for pedestrians, bicycle, children and the elderly.
- We support bicycle helmet requirements for youth cyclists, as recommended by the CDC, and still not a requirement in S.C.
- Advocate the “three foot passing” lane guidelines to provide a buffer to cyclists while on the road.
- Education, a Place to Start: S.C. is one of the few states without a State Bicyclist Manual.
- Advocacy: Most states sponsor an annual bicycle event to promote bicycling as an activity – S.C. doesn’t.
- Our States spends 0.9% of federal transportation dollars on bike and pedestrian projects 1 – among the very lowest funding levels nationally. With one of the worst bicyclist fatality rates in the nation, maybe it’s time to consider boosting the 0.9% to the national average of 2%.
- Be a “Roll Model” – Tools & Tips available for parents and teachers: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety/Bicycles/Be+a+Roll+Model
1. Alliance for Biking & Walking: Bicycling and Walking in the United States, 2014 Benchmark Report
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars
3. US Department of Transportation, Children & Traffic Safety Facts Report 2012, http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812011.pdf
4. Institute for Road Safety Research (SWOV), http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/library/details.cfm?id=4224
5. American Journal of Public Health, http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300762?journalCode=ajph&
6. South Carolina Bicycle Accidents