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What Percentage of Motorcycle Riders Crash?

Motorcycle rides are as exciting as they’re dangerous. There are numerous risks involved in motorcycle riding, such as crashing or getting into an accident. This risk only heightens when you get your first motorcycle. Most riders endure serious accidents during the initial six months of riding or receiving their driver’s licenses.

What percent of motorcycle riders crash in Columbia, South Carolina? Unfortunately, the statistics aren’t in the favor of safety. Many riders get in serious road accidents almost daily in Columbia. But how dangerous is motorcycle riding in South Carolina overall? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) paints a very grim picture of the situation on the ground. 

According to the NHTSA, South Carolina is considered to be one of the most dangerous places for motorcyclists. This is largely attributed to the state’s sheer number of motorcyclists. Through its Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the NHTSA reports that the percentage of motorcycle riders who died between 2011 and 2015 in South Carolina was way beyond the national average. If you’re a motorcyclist, you should have a South Carolina motorcycle accident lawyer on call to help you file a claim in case of an accident.

A Breakdown of Motorcycle Crash Percentages

In 2015, 18.8% of the state’s traffic fatalities were motorbike riders. At the time, the national rate of motorcyclist fatalities in South Carolina was 14.2%. The NHTSA reports that an average of 73.1% of the motorcycle riders who died on the road in South Carolina between 2011 and 2015 weren’t wearing helmets.

In 2016, at least 187 riders died on South Carolina’s roads as reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). This association reported a significant decline in the number of motorcycle fatalities in the state between 2017 and 2018. Its preliminary data indicated that the number of riders who died on the roads in 2017 dropped to 141. This number dropped further to 104 in 2018.

Sadly, the GHSA reported a rise in the number of motorcycle fatalities in South Carolina in 2019, putting the number at 113. This number didn’t include the fatalities reported during the New Year Holiday that year, which is also considered very dangerous for motorcyclists.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) reported 154 motorcycle fatalities in total. However, the SCDPS reported a downward trend in 2020 when the previous number dropped to 137. The mandatory quarantine period could be attributed to this decline, as riders were encouraged to stay home.

Helmets and Fatalities

More than half of the reported fatalities were unhelmeted, with the highest number of unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities reported in 2014 at 79.3%. The lowest number of unhelmeted motorcyclist deaths in the state over the last ten years occurred in 2020 when it stood at 67.2%.

The state’s helmet law has been largely blamed for the high number of unhelmeted fatalities. The law requires motorbike riders and their passengers to wear a helmet only if they’re under twenty-one years old. If the rider or passenger is above that age limit, it is up to their discretion to wear a helmet.

When Do Most Motorcycle Crashes Occur in South Carolina?

According to the latest South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book, there are more motorcycle accidents in South Carolina in May and June than in the rest of the year. In June 2018, at least 182 motorcyclists reported injuries, and the same figure was reported in May. The report shows May, August, and October as the deadliest months for motorcycle riders with each month recording at least fourteen fatalities. The month of May recorded the highest number of motorcyclist fatalities at seventeen.

Saturdays were the most dangerous days as far as overall motorcycle accidents. The report also indicates that the most dangerous time to ride a motorbike in 2018 was between three and six p.m. Most motorcycle injury accidents were reported at this time, while most motorcyclist fatalities were reported between six and nine p.m.

According to SCDPS, the most motorcycle accidents reported in 2018 took place on secondary roads where 629 motorbike crashes and 473 injury accidents were reported. However, the deadliest roads for motorcyclists in the state are high-traffic roads where thirty-three deadly motorcycle collisions were reported throughout the year.

Moving Forward

These statistics should help you to understand when, where, and how motorcycle crashes occur in Columbia, South Carolina. Motorcycles can make you feel empowered and free, but there is risk in riding them. If you and your bike are about to hit the road, make sure you have a helmet and a qualified accident attorney on call.



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