Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents and How to Prevent Them

South Carolina Bicycle Accident Lawyers Serving Clients in North Charleston, Clinton, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach

Bicycle accidents happen much too often across South Carolina, resulting in serious and sometimes fatal injuries to bicyclists. There are numerous causes of bicycle collisions in North Charleston, Clinton, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach. In some instances, the bicyclist may be at fault for the accident. However, in many South Carolina bicycle accident cases, the cyclist’s injuries often result from an automobile driver’s negligence. How often do bicycle accidents happen in our state? According to a recent article in The Post and Courier, the South Carolina Department of Public Transportation has expressed concern over the high number of motor vehicle-related deaths last year. Indeed, 975 fatalities occurred, and 15 percent of those (or just over 146 deaths) involved bicyclists and pedestrians.

What are some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in South Carolina’s cities? And what can we do to prevent them? These are important questions that we would like to address. In the meantime, if you have questions about filing a bicycle accident claim, an experienced North Charleston bicycle accident lawyer can assist you.

What Are Some of the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in South Carolina Cities?

fact sheet from the South Carolina Department of Public Transportation points out that, over the last decade, our state has had the fourth-highest cyclist fatality rate in the country. One of the best ways to avoid a debilitating or deadly bicycle accident is to understand the causes behind them. Whether you are riding your bicycle for leisure in downtown Charleston or rely on your bicycle for transportation in Myrtle Beach, there are many common causes of bicycle accidents and injuries. According to a fact sheet from Pedbikeinfo.org, residents of Columbia, Clinton, Myrtle Beach, and North Charleston should be aware of the following frequent causes sources of bicycle accident injuries:

  • Being struck by a motor vehicle (nearly 30 percent of all bicycle accidents);
  • Falling off a bicycle (about 17 percent of all bike crashes);
  • Poor road conditions, including roadways or bike lanes in disrepair (approximately 13 percent of reported bicycle accidents);
  • Distracted driving or distracted riding (about 13 percent of bicycle crashes or collisions);
  • Collision with another bicyclist, pedestrian, or other entity/object (around 7 percent of reported bicycle accidents); and
  • Dog running out in front of a bicyclist (about 4 percent of bicycle crashes).

As you can see, these statistics help to show that almost one-third of all injuries sustained by bicyclists in crashes happen when a driver hits the bicyclist. Who tends to be at fault in the accidents discussed above? According to a report from NPR, bicyclists can be just as negligent in causing a crash as a motor vehicle driver. However, automobiles are much larger than bicycles, and passengers in those cars have protection that bicyclists simply do not have.

Preventing South Carolina Car Accidents

It is extremely important for drivers in North Charleston, Columbia, and other South Carolina cities to focus on how they can better share the road with cyclists. South Carolina law requires such prevention measures. Under Section 56-5-3435 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, a driver of a motor vehicle is required to “at all times maintain a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and a bicycle.” This law took effect in 2008, and it acknowledges the vulnerability of cyclists in South Carolina’s cities and the need for vehicle operators to be particularly careful when they share the road with cyclists.

There are also numerous steps that bicyclists can take to help avoid crashes and injuries. According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cyclists should abide by the following accident prevention measures:

  • Always wear a bicycle helmet, regardless of your age and experience level, since it reduces the risk of a serious brain injury in the event of a collision;
  • Require any children on bicycles to wear a helmet at all times;
  • Wear fluorescent clothing if you are riding during the day because it can make you more visible to vehicles than other clothing;
  • Wear retro-reflective clothing if you are riding your bicycle at night so that drivers can see you; and
  • Add active lighting to your bicycle, including white lights in the front and red lights in the rear.

Contact a Columbia, SC Bicycle Accident Lawyer

Were you injured in a bicycle accident in South Carolina? An experienced Columbia bicycle accident lawyer can speak with you today about your case. Contact the Joye Law Firm as soon as possible to learn more about how we can assist you.