In 2021, South Carolina saw a sharp increase in motorcycle accidents leading to a record-breaking high. With a staggering 154 motorcycle accident fatalities statewide, 2021 marks the deadliest year for motorcycle accidents in SC since 1980. According to law enforcement, this could be attributed to many factors, including distracted driving and increased travel as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
However, South Carolina’s motorcycle safety laws may also be partially to blame for the rise in these catastrophic collisions. Regardless, motorcyclists must be more vigilant than ever on the road for their own sake, as well as their loved ones. As a motorcyclist (or a friend or family member), here’s what you should know.
Motorcycle Accidents by County in South Carolina
In March of 2021, The Greenville News initially reported that the number of motorcycle crashes was rising, and then that trend persisted. As the most populated county out of the 46 in South Carolina, Greenville accounted for 10.3% (16) of South Carolina’s motorcycle fatalities in 2021. In addition, Anderson County accounted for nine of the fatal motorcycle crashes while Spartanburg County accounted for 12, and Pickens County accounted for 10, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety’s traffic fatalities dashboard.
As some of the most vulnerable motorists on the road, motorcyclists are at significantly higher risk of suffering catastrophic and potentially fatal injuries in an accident. Though motorcycle laws serve to protect them, in South Carolina, they actually may be doing the opposite, further contributing to the problem.
The Concerning Reality of Motorcycle Laws in South Carolina
According to the South Carolina Motorcycle Laws (article 29), helmets and other protective gear such as goggles or face shields are only required for motorcycle operators and passengers under 21 years of age. This means that all motorcyclists over 21 are allowed to opt out of wearing them, potentially subjecting them to severe and entirely preventable injuries that could cost them their lives.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that helmets reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle accident by 37% and the risk of head injury by 69%. Behind these statistics are real people whose lives were potentially saved by their sound decision to wear a helmet and their families who, in turn, still have them around today.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Whether a motorcycle newcomer or a longtime biker, there is always room to brush up on motorcycle safety measures to keep you safe on the road. Here are some important safety tips to consider:
- Emphasize balance, coordination, and good judgment. More than anything, awareness of the challenges and potential dangers of riding a motorcycle is crucial to ensuring safety.
- Make sure you are properly licensed. To legally drive a motorcycle, you need a motorcycle license endorsement to supplement your regular driver’s license. In order to receive a motorcycle license endorsement, you must pass written and on-cycle skills tests administered by the state. It is highly encouraged that you take motorcycle safety courses to complement your education.
- Practice operating your motorcycle. In a controlled area, practice using and driving your motorcycle to ensure that you are comfortable with it and its functions before driving it in traffic.
- Thoroughly check your motorcycle before each ride. This means checking your bike’s tire pressure and tread depth, headlights and signal indicators, fluid levels, and hand and foot brakes before you operate it.
- Drive responsibly. You should avoid driving recklessly at all times, as well as drinking under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Ready to put your skills and knowledge to the test? Check out our SC motorcycle safety skills test before you hit the road.
Accident Attorneys and Fellow Motorcyclists in South Carolina
Regardless of the safety measures you take, a motorcycle collision can still happen and potentially lead to life-threatening injuries. If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle crash, you are not alone. At Grimes Teich Anderson, we are dedicated motorcyclists ourselves, and we will treat your case like we would our own. We are ready to work hard to recover the compensation you need to get back on your bike as soon as possible. Talk with us for free by filling out and submitting a contact form online or calling our office at 800-533-6845 today.