‘White bikes chained by the roadside may provoke some to wonder why they are there and what they represent. The ghost bikes celebrate the lost lives of individuals who have been killed while riding their bikes along South Carolina roadsides, while reminding drivers of the importance tuning in to bicyclists. Sadly, the number of these roadside memorials is increasing every week.
Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation in South Carolina, with 2.5 percent of people commuting to work on a bicycle. Additional data of note:
- Only about a quarter of bicycle commuters are female;
- South Carolina ranks 46th in the nation in bicycle/pedestrian fatalities;
- South Carolina bicycling fatalities have steadily decreased over the past decade, but still exceeds national averages;
- Most bicycle injuries involve cyclists aged 20-30 years old, whereas most fatalities involve cyclists 40-50 years old;
- Saturday is the most deadly day of the week for cyclists;
- Female riders experience more than double the number of injuries compared to fatalities, whereas males experience nearly the same number of injuries compared to injuries;
- Male cycling injuries occur at nearly four times the rate of female injuries;
- Male fatalities occur at roughly 13 times the rate of female fatalities;
- The peak time of day for injuries and fatalities is 3-9 pm.
Names Behind the Statistics
Every data point refers to a real person who has suffered serious injuries or death while riding a bicycle in South Carolina. It is important to remember that real families suffer when auto-bicycle collisions occur:
- Jae Bellamy lost his life just days after turning 46 in a hit and run accident;
- William Wilson was killed in Columbia just one year after graduating from the Citadel;
- Jeffery Pierce was described as an experienced bicyclists who was killed in Spartanburg when he was struck from behind by a driver who was eventually charged with reckless homicide.
Staying Safe as a Cyclist
Bicyclists can experience greater enjoyment and safety when they pay attention to basic safety rules and rights:
- Ride with, not against traffic;
- Stay as far to the right as is practical;
- Use bicycle lanes when available except for passing;
- Ride no more than two abreast;
- Wear reflective clothing; and
- Equip bicycles with lights and reflectors.
Motorists are required to keep a safe distance from bicyclists, and may not shout at or throw things at cyclists under penalty of law. In the event an auto-cyclist collision occurs, both parties are required to remain at the scene until police arrive. Particularly when serious injuries occur, drivers should do what they can to assist with medical problems. Law enforcement officers will conduct an investigation at the scene and make a determination as to who was a fault. In the event of serious injuries or a fatality, the motorist may be liable for damages associated with medical costs, property damage, lost wages, or, heaven forbid, funeral costs.
If you or a loved one is the victim of a negligent or reckless driver, the experienced legal team at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm will fight for justice on your behalf. Contact us in Greenville for a free, confidential consultation.