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What Is the Primary Cause of Motorcycle Crashes?

Riding your brand-new motorcycle on the streets and highways in Columbia, South Carolina is a thrilling experience, but it can be hazardous. The latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that 3,893 motorcycle crashes occurred in South Carolina in 2022, with 154 of them resulting in fatalities. Even as you enjoy your ride, the reality is that deadly motorcycle accidents happen often.

But how dangerous is motorcycle riding in Columbia, South Carolina? What is the primary cause of motorcycle crashes in the region, and do you need to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer? This article will answer these and other concerns about the risks of riding motorcycles in Columbia.

Motorcycle Crash Statistics in South Carolina

The South Carolina Collision Data indicates that 123 motorcycle fatalities were reported in South Carolina in 2019. The Traffic Collision Factbook recorded a slight decline in bike crash fatalities when that figure dropped to 116 in 2020. However, the majority of these accidents could have been avoided.

The NHTSA reported 5,014 motorcyclist fatalities in 2019. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), there’s one traffic collision involving a motorcycle every 4.3 minutes and one fatal motorcycle crash every 9.1 hours. The department also reports that one motorcycle injury happens every sixteen minutes, while one property damage collision involving a motorcycle happens every six.

One person is killed in a motorcycle accident every 8.2 hours and one motorcyclist is killed nearly every three days. The SCDPS further reports that one pedestrian is killed by a motorcycle nearly every two days. In 2021, 154 motorcyclists died in South Carolina, the highest number of motorcyclist fatalities since 1980. The other highest number was in 2016 when 139 motorcyclists in the state died in accidents.

What’s the Primary Cause of Motorcycle Crashes in South Carolina?

If the above-mentioned statistics are anything to go by, it’s evident that motorcyclists in South Carolina face numerous dangers on the highways and streets. There are many causes of motorcycle crashes that you need to be aware of to stay safe on the road. Here are the most common ones:

Recklessness, Over-Speeding, and DUI

According to the NHTSA, many motorcycle accidents are a result of reckless driving, over-speeding, and driving under the influence. Riding your motorcycle without regard to the road safety rules will only result in a serious crash. The severity of the crash depends on the speed at which you are moving.

Riding your motorcycle when you’re under the influence compromises your ability to make safe and timely decisions. The NHTSA reports that a higher number of motorcyclists riding while drunk is involved in deadly crashes than drivers of passenger vehicles, large trucks, and light trucks.

The effectiveness of your protective gear like helmets, chest guards, knee caps, etc. is compromised when you’re moving at a high speed. Although the Motorcycle law in SC allows riders and passengers who are over twenty-one years of age to ride without protective gear, you should always protect yourself. 

Not a day will pass without seeing a motorcyclist riding their bike on the highway without a helmet. If you are in an accident without protective gear, your chances of surviving the accident with minor injuries drops considerably.

Car Doors

Because motorcycles weave through traffic, many motorcyclists have died after crashing into car doors that opened suddenly in front of them when maneuvering through traffic at high speed. Chapter five, section 56-5-3822 of the 2012 Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways in South Carolina prohibits vehicle drivers from opening or leaving doors of their motor vehicles open unless it’s reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without disrupting the movement of traffic.

This section also prohibits drivers from leaving any door of their car open on the side of “moving traffic for any period longer than necessary to load or unload a passenger.” This law is meant to protect other road users, especially motorcyclists from crashing into your car door when overtaking you.

Running Red Lights

Information coming from the NHTSA indicates that about 35% of all motorcyclist fatalities that happened countrywide in 2019 occurred at intersections. This shows you how dangerous intersections are for motorcyclists. Always watch the lights and be patient enough to wait for the green light.

Lastly, most of these causes of motorcycle crashes are avoidable if every road user follows road safety rules and remains alert on the road.

Know Your Options

In many of these cases, motorcyclists could be at fault for the cause of the accident, but not always. If you are in an accident, refer to a motorcycle accident lawyer to weigh your options and receive any compensation you may be entitled to.




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