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.
Deep South States are the Most Dangerous for Bicyclists
According to a report released last year by the National Alliance for Biking and Walking, the states of the Deep South are “the most dangerous per biker, and per bike mile traveled, by a wide margin.”
If you bike in South Carolina you are 10 times likelier to be hit and killed by a car than if you bike in Oregon, one of America’s safer states for cyclists. At the heart of the issue is a lack of infrastructure.
A lack of dedicated bike lanes, wider shoulders, and more bike-friendly urban centers make it a treacherous endeavor to cycle on the roads of Charleston, South Carolina. The lack of infrastructure is mirrored by the lack of funding for safer public travel for cyclists by the South Carolina legislature.
Advocacy Advance issued a report that showed southern states, when compared with the rest of the country, spend the least on pedestrian infrastructure and safety as a part of their fiscal budget. Massachusetts allots more than five percent (5%) of its transportation spending to facilities geared towards biking and other pedestrian endeavors. South Carolina committed one half of one percent (.005) of its overall fiscal budget towards pedestrian safety. The numbers show a stark contrast in priorities.
Lawmaker Priorities are Putting the Community at Risk
Amy Johnson is the director of the Palmetto Cycling Coalition in South Carolina. She stated that, in South Carolina, “we [have] the third largest state roadway system, with the third lowest gas tax.” The byproduct of the math is a small budget that is not enough to maintain or add to an already large and expensive road system.
In the scheme of things, bicycling and its enthusiasts rank low in the order of priority so the need for safety is largely ignored. Lawmaker’s focus is on facilitating “intrastate travel”, and can be “very resistant to providing funding for construction, reconstruction, or moving lane markings.”
Cycling enthusiasts in? Charleston, SC know the corner of Lockheed and Montague well. There you can find a white bike with broken tires and a garland of plastic flowers chained to a no-parking sign. Three years ago, Edwin Gardner, a prominent advocate for the Charleston biking community, was struck and killed by a car in gruesome fashion.
At the heart of all of these bicycle accidents in Charleston is reckless driving and the public’s indifference to yielding the right-of-way to cyclists who are lawfully traveling in their lane. All of this information begs the question, how do you increase safety before you increase bikers?
States are Responding to Bicycle Advocates
Many states in the South are responding with the expansion of driver education programs. However, some vocal advocates feel these efforts are just window-dressing. They maintain the solution is a simple one, better infrastructure geared towards protecting the riding public and pedestrians alike.
In point of fact, there is a direct and strong correlation between the lack of funding for infrastructure geared towards providing a safer environment and a reduction in deaths related to bicycle accidents and cars and trucks. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) pays lip service to such initiatives when prompted.
Even so, South Carolina still ranks near the bottom of the list (44th) for allotting money to bike and pedestrian safety, according to statistics gathered by the Palmetto Cycling Coalition.
There will not be Change, Unless…
What should you, as a South Carolina resident, take away from this information? Protecting pedestrians, specifically cyclists, has not been and will not be a priority of this state until we, the taxpayers, demand it.
Contact a Charleston, South Carolina Bicycle Accident Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured or killed because of an out of control driver, contact the Hartman Law Firm, LLC? for help.? Frank Hartman is a Charleston cyclist accident lawyer and has extensive experience with clients who have been injured while riding their bikes.
Being involved in a vehicle and bike collision is a stressful and overwhelming experience. Frank will reduce the pressure on you to handle the legal and insurance situations, so you can focus on recovering
Free strategy session with Frank Hartman
Your Free Strategy Session with Frank includes a twenty minute phone call.
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