Officials with the South Carolina Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal accident that killed a bicyclist in Carolina Forest. According to News13, the accident happened just before 10:00 p.m. near Plantation Lakes.
According to the Chief Deputy Coroner, the bicyclist was a 35-year-old man from Conway. He was hit by a vehicle and died at the scene. No charges have been filed.
Our Carolina Forest accident attorneys understand that bicyclists have some serious risks for injuries this summer. Not only are their chances for an accident high, but their risks for serious injury and even death in the event of a collision are much higher. This is why it's important that cyclists are on the lookout for dangers around them. Motor vehicle traffic also needs to do its part to help protect these riders. Bicyclist safety is a job that depends on everyone.
The truth of the matter is that we lost more than 675 bicyclist lives in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2011. Yes, this is a number that's lower than the 830 fatalities the nation saw in 1995, but these kinds of accidents have again been on the rise in recent years. These fatality numbers represent a little more than 2 percent of the total number of people killed in traffic accidents for the entire year. The number of injuries reported from bicyclists has also followed a similar fluctuating trend, from 61,000 in 1995 to close to 40,000 in 2011.
According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control, bicycle use laws and safety guidelines are oftentimes misunderstood by bicyclists. Unfortunately, studies indicate that riders in our area who have little or no knowledge of the current bicycle laws, safety rules or even the proper use of protective and reflective gear are at greater risk for injury or death. Our state's bicycle fatality rates have been consistently over the nation's average. Our state has been one of the top 10 states with the highest rates of cycling deaths, more than double the national average during some years. But we unfortunately still lacked a statewide bicyclist educational program.
Some of the most important things we've got to remember as motorists is that bicyclists are granted all of the rights and are subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.
When riding on two wheels out there, you've got to remember you're acting as a motor vehicle, too. Make sure you're aware of the movement around you and you're staying one step ahead of traffic. Remaining aware and riding defensively is going to help to avoid accidents -- and save your life.