South Carolina Named One of the Most Dangerous States for Bicyclists

Nationwide and in South Carolina, there are far fewer bicycle fatalities than there are traffic deaths involving drivers and passengers of motor vehicles, motorcyclists, and even pedestrians. So, it can come as a shock when you hear of a bicyclist killed in traffic, like the North Charleston woman who died this past summer after being hit by a dump truck. That shock should also serve as a wake-up call for those who don’t recognize the risks to bicycle riders on South Carolina streets.

South Carolina makes multiple lists of the most dangerous states for bicyclists, each using slightly different metrics. That may seem surprising when you consider that in the decade from 2012-2021, South Carolina had just 186 bicyclist fatalities. That’s about 2.2% of all bike rider deaths in the U.S. during that time, and only works out to an average of 18-19 bicycle fatalities per year. In fact, more than half of bicyclist fatalities each year are attributable to the five states with the highest number of casualties–and South Carolina is not among them. But, the number of annual deaths isn’t the most meaningful metric.

Where are Bicycle Riders Most at Risk?

Highest Ranking States for Per Capita Bicyclist Fatalities

According to Cycling Weekly, Florida is the most dangerous state for bicyclists, with a bicyclist fatality rate of 6.18 per 100,000 residents. The rest of the top five include Louisiana, Arizona, Delaware and South Carolina. South Carolina’s per capita fatality rate for bike riders is 3.5 per 100,000.

Per capita rates provide a bit more information than the raw number of bicycle deaths in a state, but they still don’t give us the whole picture on the risk to bicyclists. That’s because bicycle riding is more popular in some states than others, and because different climates around the U.S. mean that bicyclists in some states ride year-round, while those in other states are much less likely to be riding in the winter months.

Fatalities per Bicycle Miles Traveled

Streetlight Data recognized the flaw in using per capita rates to assess risk levels, and switched to a new metric: bicyclist deaths by bike miles traveled. When that new ranking system was applied, South Carolina jumped to the second-riskiest state for bike riders, ahead of Florida.

Charleston County Also Makes the List

In addition to states, researchers looked at metro areas and counties around the country. Charleston County was #5 among counties with populations of 250,000 or more for per capita bicycle fatalities.

Bicycle Injuries in Traffic are Far More Common

While bicyclist deaths in traffic are relatively rare, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 130,000 bicyclists are injured in traffic each year. A wide variety of factors contribute to these injuries and to the fatalities discussed above. Some of the most common include:

  • Road design that isn’t friendly to bicyclists, such as narrow streets, lack of shoulders, and no bicycle lanes
  • Distracted driving by motorists sharing the road with bike riders
  • Bicyclists not observing traffic laws
  • Failure to yield the right of way

Researchers have also found that car-bicycle accidents are more likely to be fatal to the bicyclist if they are under the influence of alcohol.

Liability for Bicycle Accident Injuries and Death

If you were hit by a car while biking or have lost a loved one to a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. For example, if the driver who hit you was negligent, they will likely be legally responsible for the accident and damages you suffered. Some common examples include a driver who didn’t see you because they were texting or otherwise distracted, a driver who hit you while speeding or disregarding a traffic signal, or a driver who was under the influence or fatigued at the time of the accident.

Depending on how and why the accident occurred, there may be other responsible parties. It’s also possible that you may share some of the blame for the accident.

The best way to find out whether you have a claim against the driver who hit you and whether there may be other responsible parties is to talk with an experienced Charleston/North Charleston bicycle accident attorney.

How Dangerous Is It To Be a Pedestrian in South Carolina?

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has released preliminary data on 2021 pedestrian fatalities, and the news isn’t good. They’re reporting an estimated 7,485 people around the United States hit and killed by cars and other motor vehicles in 2021. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the last time more than 7,000 pedestrians were fatally hit by motor vehicles in a single year was 1982.

Though 2021 fatalities hit a new peak, pedestrian fatalities have been trending upward for several years. From 2010 to 2020, the annual number of pedestrian deaths increased by 54%, from 4,302 to 6,607. While traffic fatalities in general trended upward during the same period, the jump in pedestrian fatalities was much more significant. And, pedestrians make up an increasing percentage of those killed in traffic. 

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Determining Liability in a Multi-Car Pileup

Multi-car pile-up on freeway

Determining liability in a South Carolina car accident can be complicated. Often, two drivers involved in a collision will disagree about who is at fault. In some cases, they may both be right–many car accidents have more than one contributing cause. Imagine, for example, that one vehicle suddenly stops in traffic because two children are fighting in the back seat. The next vehicle in line is following too closely and slightly exceeding the speed limit, and rear-ends the vehicle that stopped abruptly. 

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Hospitalization Costs

After you’ve been involved in an accident, the first thing that automatically comes into mind is getting medical attention. That intuition is important, after all, health is paramount to all other things that may be happening at the moment. But once you’re taken care of at the hospital, your healthcare provider will soon start sending bills your way. From the ER doctor to the hospital, to the ambulance that brought you, every provider will have been looking for their own share of compensation.  

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Wrongful Death Liability

Most people involved in an accident are not aware that sometimes a defective component or the vehicle itself may have led to, or worsened the accident. These defects may harmfully lead to serious accidents. In such instances, we represent victims of car crashes that may have been caused by vehicle defects, using document and liability experts. Our wrongful death attorneys at The Hartman Law Firm, LLC has helped people get the compensation and justice they deserve. 

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Can You File a Personal Injury Claim During Quarantine?

Being in quarantine has changed so many aspects of life. Everyone has to adjust to the new normal. Businesses, schools, and academic institutions, government agencies, and organizations are doing their best to adapt to the new environment. The legal profession is one of the most affected as lawyers, their teams, and clients had to change some processes. 

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Navigating the Auto Insurance Landscape

Whether you’re insuring a car for the first time, updating your auto insurance to cover a new car, or simply trying to lower your premiums, buying auto insurance can be confusing. In some ways, the task is simpler now than it ever was. Gone are the days of making umpteen phone calls to insurance agents and keeping copious notes. Online quotes and comparison tools can provide a lot of information and save you valuable research time when trying to locate the best auto insurance policy. But figuring out precisely what type of coverage you need-and how much-remains a little mysterious to many drivers.

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