Thousands of motorcycle accidents happen every year in South Carolina. Because motorcycle riders and their passengers lack the safety benefits of air bags, seat belts and structural protection, they are highly likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries in these collisions. This is why motor vehicle drivers need to know how to share the road safely with motorcycles.
For example, in 2016 alone, more than 2,300 motorcycle collisions occurred on South Carolina roads, according to the S.C. Department of Public Safety. Those crashes led to 148 deaths. This means that a fatality occurred in roughly 6 percent of all motorcycle accidents in our state – a far higher fatality ratio than the ratios for other types of collisions.
With those facts in mind, here are five tips for sharing the road with motorcyclists:
- Give motorcycles the same respect that you give to other vehicles. Just because a motorcycle is smaller than a car and has two wheels, it does not mean that the rider deserves any less respect on the road. Knowing how to pass a motorcycle can save a life. This means passing the motorcycle the same way you would pass a car. You should never try to occupy the same lane or “buzz” a motorcycle when you pass it.
- Keep an eye open for motorcycles at intersections. Many crashes happen because car drivers forget that a motorcyclist has the right of way at an intersection. So, they turn left in front of the motorcycle. When you approach an intersection, ask yourself whether the vehicles coming from the opposite direction have the right-of-way. If so, pause a moment and look for vehicles that may not be readily visible such as motorcycles.
- Never tailgate a motorcycle. While you should never follow any vehicle closely in traffic, this is especially true when you travel behind a motorcycle. A motorcyclist who needs to suddenly stop or swerve to avoid an obstacle can be killed or severely injured by a car that follows too closely. You should use the four-second rule and always keep a proper following distance.
- Watch for blind spots. Motorcycles are smaller than cars. They may be tougher to see in your mirrors. So, if you hear a motorcycle, take a moment to look around you and see where that sound is coming from – especially before you turn or change lanes.
- Develop seasonal awareness. Because of our warm weather in South Carolina, you can encounter a motorcyclist on the road at pretty much any time of the year. Still, from the spring through the fall, motorcyclists tend to turn out in bigger numbers. So, you should be on heightened alert during those times of the year.
Get Help from an Experienced South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury in a motorcycle crash due to another driver’s negligence, don’t take chances with your medical expenses, lost income and other losses. Contact Joye Law Firm today. With offices located conveniently throughout South Carolina, we are here when you need us. Call or reach us online to schedule your free consultation.