motorcycle riding in Charleston, SC

A bill to allow North Carolina motorcyclists over the age of 21 to ride without helmets has passed a committee of the state House. If this legislation becomes law, North Carolina will join South Carolina in relaxing laws on helmet use.

Studies Recommend Helmet Use

Currently, South Carolina requires helmets only for riders under 21. North Carolina requires all motorcyclists to wear helmets. Federal officials and motorcycle safety advocates say that helmets save lives and reduce head injuries, holding down health care costs that are eventually passed to all insured residents.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets decrease the chances of a motorcycle death by 37 percent.

A comparison of motorcycle deaths in South Carolina and North Carolina supports the value of compulsory helmet laws. According to preliminary data form the Governors Highway Safety Association, 102 people died in motorcycle accidents in South Carolina during the first nine months of 2011, an increase of 21 deaths compared to 2010. In North Carolina, a state with a considerably larger population, 116 motorcyclists died during the same nine-month period—a decrease of 31 deaths from the previous year.

After states repealed universal helmet laws, motorcyclist fatalities increased by 21 percent in Arkansas, 81 percent in Florida, 58 percent in Kentucky and 31 percent in Texas, according to the GHSA.

It is unlikely that South Carolina will elect to change its motorcycle helmet laws in the near future. No revisions to the law have been made in more than 10 years.

Some Motorcycle Groups Disagree With Statistics

Despite data that support the use of headgear, some motorcycle groups contend that effective education is a better way to keep motorcycle riders out of harm’s way.

North Carolina’s BikeSafe-NC is seeing an increase in motorcycle training classes. South Carolina also offers educational courses to teach motorcyclists to ride safely.

Need Legal Help?

It takes skill and experience to operate a motorcycle. But sometimes even the most cautious and defensive rider can’t avoid a crash that is someone else’s fault. Our South Carolina motorcycle accident injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm may be able to help you get compensation if you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident.

Contact us for a free consultation at 888-918-4958 or fill out our convenient online form today.

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About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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