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  • Writer's pictureDana Adkins, Esq.

The Sour Relationship Between South Carolina Bicyclists & Drivers

Bicycles are a common form of recreation and transportation in South Carolina. South Carolina also nears the top of list for most dangerous states for cyclists in the nation. A recent study identified South Carolina as the second the most dangerous and fourth deadliest state for cyclists by fatalities per capita versus miles biked. The report analyzed data reported by the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2018 and 2019, along with bike mileage data collected by Streetlight. NHTSA figures also show South Carolina's bicycle death rates were again among the worst in the nation for 2020 (the latest year for which data is available). On average there are 508 reported bicycle crashes every year in South Carolina. Of these crashes:


SCDOT's Plant to Improve Bicyclist Safety


Cyclists are practically defenseless against even a small car, much less a SUV, pickup truck, or 18-wheeler. Lack of bicycle lanes and poor roadways contribute to the accident problem. A driver may hit a cyclist when he or she tries to veer away from damaged pavement or hits something that causes them to lose control of their vehicle. To respond to the problem, the SCDOT produced its Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Action Plan, providing a framework to improve conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists. The plan's vision is to use a data-driven approach to help transportation planners and local partners decide where to focus investments to align safety programs and infrastructure improvements. The report identifies a series of measures that SCDOT and other agencies can implement to prevent pedestrian and bicyclist deaths within three areas:


  • Engineering measures, such as signage or pavement markings to facilitate safer pedestrian crossings, designated bicycle lanes, and design improvements at intersections and along roadways.

  • Education measures to make motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists — including school-age children — more aware of better safety practices. This could include a review of current laws related to walking and biking and programs to promote safe behaviors for all road users.

  • Enforcement countermeasures, including efforts to enforce speed limits, yielding and passing laws, and compliance with traffic signs. Law enforcement can also play a major role in engaging the community to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, the report says.

Your Bicycle Crash Case May Be Much Stronger Than You Think!


Dealing with an insurance company, while also trying to recover from a crash can be overwhelming. Cyclists who are injured in an automobile accident must be on full-alert when trying to recover compensation for their injuries. Insurance agents are trained to pay the least amount of compensation possible. They will use every trick in the book to get you to settle, before you even talk to a lawyer. We provide free confidential consultations. We will help you evaluate fault and determine the amount of compensation that you should receive. Before signing anything, make sure you have considered everything.


Some of the Ways We Can Help You After a Bicycle Crash

  • The responding officer may find you were at least partially at-fault for the wreck. This could be the case, for example, if the driver, claims you swerved on your bicycle in front of their vehicle. What you may not know is that police reports are inadmissible at trial, because they are hearsay. Also, the officer can only testify about things he or she personally observed, not what the driver said. The officer's opinion about who was at-fault has absolutely no bearing on actual liability.

  • Another example may require attacking alleged facts that would have been physically impossible. For example, if a driver alleges our client was cycling at an excessive rate of speed on her beach cruiser, our expert could offer evidence of the gear to wheel ratio and prove our client would have needed to be a superhuman to travel at the speed alleged by the defendant.

  • If you weren't wearing a helmet, the insurance adjuster will likely try to use that as a reason to pay you less money, especially if you suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI). The law in South Carolina does not require bicyclists to wear helmets. The only laws governing bicyclists specifically are in §56-5-3410 to §56-5-3515 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Otherwise, bicyclists in South Carolina are required to follow the same rules and regulations as motor vehicle drivers, such as stopping for traffic lights and stop signs.

  • Bias against cyclists as a roadway nuisance is another impediment when an injured person seeks compensation after a crash. Consider the difference between the two sentences below:

    1. The bicyclists entered the intersection and was struck by a car.

    2. After waiting for the light to turn green, Sam, began to ride his bike through the intersection, when he was hit by Mr. Smith, who was attempting to turn right on red.

Even a small change in wording can make a big difference when assessing liability.


Get Legal Help After a Bicycle Crash


We proudly serve clients throughout South Carolina and would be honored to help you with the legal recovery process, while you focus on healing. Contact us today by calling our firm at (843) 823-6237, by texting Dana directly at (843) 330-7687 or by emailing Crystal at Crystal@PalmettoStateInjuryLawyers.com


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