South Carolina is well on its way to potentially having one of the highest motorcycle fatality numbers in years. Around this time last year, there were approximately 83 deaths related to motorcycle accidents compared to this year, where we have skyrocketed up to 119 deaths.
These recent numbers have prompted The Study Committee of Motorcycle Usage and Safety to try and implement some recommendations to SC lawmakers.
Currently, bikers aren’t required to wear a helmet in this state unless they are younger than 20 years old. Many other states, such as Georgia and North Carolina, along with 17 others, require all riders to wear helmets while operating a motorcycle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2013, if all riders had been wearing helmets, approximately 715 lives could have been saved.
There is much speculation that many of these accidents are caused by a lack of proper bike training. According to Public Safety, most of these motorcycle related deaths have been middle aged men who recently purchased bikes and began riding without proper training.
However, not all motorcycle accidents are caused by the actual riders themselves—others on the road have to be more aware of motorcycles and treat them just like any other vehicle on the road when it comes to safety precautions.
Although helmets can potentially save lives, the committee is actually not recommending that a mandatory state law be passed on wearing helmets, but more along the lines of getting proper training for those who operate a motorcycle.
The committee is set to report to SC lawmakers sometime in December and hopefully implement a “lemon law” for bikes. They are also looking for South Carolina to put up road signs specifically for motorcyclists, showing large bumps in the road and metal plates. The committee is also against a current bill that’s “pending” that would allow children and babies to ride on the backs of bikes in child safety seats (which are not made for bikes).
For now, motorcyclists are encouraged to take any and all safety training courses they can, regardless of their experience level on a bike, and wear helmets.