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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3 Things You Didn’t Know about Cars

Sometimes, the issues that are least-often discussed are the most important for safe driving, making sure you’re in compliance with the law, and ensuring that you’re covered if you do get into a motor vehicle crash. Here are three issues we don’t see covered often enough: what happens when you get in an collision without insurance, why you need to rotate your tires, and what special considerations you should be aware of if you’re considering driving for Uber or Lyft.

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Reckless Driving and Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way make South Carolina Ripe for Bicycle Accidents

For instance, did you know that cyclists are 10 times likelier to be killed in South Carolina than in Oregon? If you look more closely at the statistics, a troubling trend appears. If you live in the Deep South – outside Charleston, South Carolina, for example – you’re more likely to fall victim to this kind of accident.

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Responsibilities During Halloween

During Halloween, neighborhoods are filled with children running about gathering up as much candy as they can. It’s an exciting time for children and parents as well.

Unfortunately, with all of the excitement, it’s easy to forget that this holiday is also one of the most dangerous for pedestrians. The National Center for Health Statistics estimated that 7,450 pedestrians were killed in traffic or non-traffic incidents in 2017.

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You Were In a Car Accident: What I See My Client’s Go Through

When you’re in a car crash, many things can change in an instant. In the moment, it can be hard to sort out what’s most important and how you can best protect yourself and your family. Working with motor vehicle accident victims for more than a decade, I know some of the same challenges crop up again and again. Here’s what I’ve learned that may help you determine your next steps after a car accident.

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