Why Does South Carolina Constantly Rank At the Bottom in Bicycle Safety?

Columbia Injury Attorneys Talk

Bicycle injury statistics are hard to come by, partly because police in many states don’t bother to file a report if the cyclist isn’t seriously injured. In some states, reports get filed only if a person is seriously injured or the motor vehicle sustains damage serious enough that it must be towed. Only a fraction of bicycle crashes are ever recorded by the police—possibly as few as 10 percent. Despite knowing that these numbers are underreported, the National Safety Council estimates that in 2012, as many as 49,000 bicyclists were injured and 726 bicyclists were killed in crashes with motor vehicles.

The total annual cost of bicyclist injuries and fatalities is over $4 billion. The emotional cost is far higher.

How Does South Carolina Fare for Cyclists?

Sadly, South Carolina ranks among the worst states for cyclist fatalities. In Charleston alone, only about two and a half percent of residents commute by bike, yet almost 10 percent of all traffic fatalities involve cyclists.

South Carolina does not require helmet usage, even for children. A new bill was introduced by Rep. Wendy Nanney earlier this year requiring cyclists to buy liability insurance, but was quickly withdrawn. (The bill was dropped after a massive outcry from cyclists, saying it would serve to discourage cycling, and most accidents are caused by car drivers, not the bicyclists.)

Less than 1 percent of South Carolina’s transportation spending goes toward bicycle safety improvement. Only West Virginia and North Dakota spend less. This is an appalling figure to consider.

Despite the state’s abysmal rank of 47th in cycling safety, there is still a rising interest in bicycling.

Charleston has a stated goal to increase bicycling and bike lanes, and more importantly, to decrease bike and pedestrian fatalities. The shocking rate of cyclist deaths should help push through these needed changes in city policy.

Injured in a Bicycle Accident in South Carolina?

It is vitally important that car drivers remember to share the road with bicyclists. Of course cyclists are entitled to their share of the road, but all cyclists should assume they will not be seen by drivers. Most importantly, cyclists must be especially vigilant at intersections—most cars are looking out for other cars, but not bikes. When a bike and a car collide, the cyclist is much more susceptible to serious personal injury, even when the cyclist had the right of way and the car driver was completely at fault.

At Proffitt & Cox, LLP, we are proud to live and work in South Carolina. Our Columbia injury lawyers always do everything in our power to protect injury victims in our state. We have helped victims of all types of injuries to retrieve the compensation to which they are entitled. Our Columbia injury attorneys have years of injury litigation experience, and we have procured multiple recoveries for our clients. If you were involved in a bicycle accident in South Carolina, call our office today for a free consultation regarding your case.

Source: http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20140416/PC1610/140419495