Top 10 Motorcycle Safety Tips for South Carolina’s Bikers
Statistically, a motorcyclist is killed every 3 days in an accident in South Carolina. There were 1,819 reported motorcycle crashes in SC in 2010, which accounted for 10% of traffic fatalities; motorcycle accidents comprised less than 2% of crashes overall.
There are many causes of motorcycle accidents, from poorly-maintained roads to drunk driving. While South Carolina has some basic motorcycle safety laws, such as requiring riders under the age of 16 to wear a helmet, and requiring operators to pass a vision, written, and skills test to acquire a motorcycle-specific license, the state does not require full safety equipment on motorcycles.
It is up to you as a motorcyclist to take as many safety precautions as necessary to help prevent accidents.
The Strom Law Firm recommends the following safety tips for motorcyclists in South Carolina:
- Wear a helmet. Although South Carolina does not require motorcycle drivers by law to wear helmets if they are legal adults, a helmet can help reduce or prevent concussions, skull fractures, damage to eye sockets or other facial features, and traumatic brain injuries.
- Take a motorcycle safety course. Community colleges and motorcycle clubs all over South Carolina offer safety courses, so if you are new to motorcycle riding, take one of those classes to learn best practices while riding.
- Check your motorcycle before hitting the road. Make sure the lights, horn, blinkers, brakes, and tires are in good working order before you even turn on the engine, especially if you have not been on your bike recently.
- Educate your passengers. Make sure to have a spare helmet ready for anyone else who will ride with you on your motorcycle, and talk them through motorcycle safety so you can drive distraction-free.
- Keep your hands firmly on the handlebars. Too many drivers take one hand off the wheel, especially to fiddle with the radio or answer their phone. Distracted driving is dangerous enough when you’re surrounded by metal and airbags – when you’re operating a motorcycle, all you have between yourself and hitting the pavement is your safety gear and your awareness. Keep your hands in place, steering your bike, and look out for other drivers.
- Look twice at every intersection. Look left, then right, then left again before driving through an intersection. Many drivers do not look carefully for stop or yield signs. A number of drivers involved in motorcycle accidents claim that they did not even see the rider before it was too late. This simple safety precaution can help ensure that you see them and that they see you before it’s too late.
- Leave enough space. As a motorcyclist, you will not have the benefit of a bumper if you hit the vehicle in front of you, and you could easily fly off your bike and seriously injure yourself.
- Keep your eyes moving and stay alert. Continually check your mirrors, and do not merely stare straight ahead. Be aware of the vehicles around you.
- Follow the rules of the road. While a motorcycle may be more agile than a standard sedan, truck, or SUV, you cannot dodge and weave in traffic to go faster than everyone else. In fact, your size makes you harder to see, so a driver paying attention to gridlock traffic is probably not expecting you.
- Do not drive impaired. Whether you have had a few alcoholic beverages, or you are simply tired, impairment is the leading cause of serious vehicle accidents in South Carolina. Drowsy driving, drunk driving, and distracted driving all cause numerous injuries and fatalities every year. If your main form of transportation is a motorcycle, you lack the protection provided by a standard automobile, so it is especially important that you take precautions to be fully aware of your surroundings.