2021 set a record for motorcycle fatalities in the U.S. Though that number dropped slightly in 2022, the decline was just over 1%–still more than twice as many deaths as in 2000, and 24% more than in 2010. Of course, these fatalities aren’t spread equally around the country.
The number of fatal motorcycle accidents in South Carolina is somewhat higher than the average, with 167 motorcyclist deaths in 2021. That’s about 3% of the total deaths across the nation. Seven states had more fatalities than South Carolina. Still, South Carolina was ranked the fourth most dangerous state for motorcyclists.
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 someone killed in a bicycle accident, 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.
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.
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.
George knows this lesson all too well as this story will tell. As the General Manager of Knight Printing and Graphics he greatly expanded the business. Knight Printing and Graphics does business as The 4 Elliotts, Inc. Maria and Elliott Scott own the business. Maria is the CEO.
In a move that will ring familiar with readers, Maria hired a consultant. Soon afterwards, she decided to replace George as General Manager with the consultant. The company terminated George in 2016.