In 2013, there were approximately 767 fatal road accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 15 were cyclists, representing 3.14 deaths per million population. This number places South Carolina in the top ten states for the highest cyclist fatality rates. As of 2015, South Carolina ranked fifth behind Florida, Louisiana, Oregon and Arizona and was followed by New Hampshire, California, New York, Alaska and North Carolina.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Most fatal crashes between bicycles and other vehicles happen in urban areas and may involve the following factors:
Know the State Bicycle Laws
In South Carolina, an individual riding a bicycle has all of the same rights and is subject to the same duties that drivers must follow.
Cyclists must ride as close to the right side of the road as is possible. They may ride on the shoulder of the road and may ride in another lane if only one is open.
Motor vehicle drivers must exercise due care and caution to avoid a collision with a pedestrian, must keep a safe distance between their vehicle and the cyclist and must not harass cyclists. According to the Palmetto Cycling Coalition, South Carolina has a law specifically stating that it is “unlawful to harass, taunt or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle.”
Even with such laws in place, there are too many accidents involving cyclists occurring in the state that usually end with serious injuries or death for the cyclist. According to the National Safety Council, the total cost of cyclist injuries and death is more than $4 billion a year. If you have been involved in a bicycle accident, the first priority is to get medical treatment for any injuries. See your doctor, as sometimes injuries do not manifest themselves until later.