A 21-year-old from Columbia was recently charged with felony driving under the influence after he got into an accident that killed two motorcyclists. According to The Times and Democrat, the man was also charged with one count of second-offense driving under suspension.
Officials with the South Carolina Highway Patrol report that the young driver was heading north down Highway 21 at roughly 7:00 p.m. when he crossed the center line and slammed into the two motorcycles head on. It happened in Branchville near Wire Road. A 43- and a 50-year-old were killed in the collision.
Our Branchville motorcycle accident lawyers understand that, as of September 2, there have been more than 470 fatalities on our state’s roadways. While we’re doing a little better than the 552 recorded during the same time last year, we still have a long way to go. Of the more than 470 people killed in these accidents, more than 310 of them were motor-vehicle occupants. More than 180 of them were not wearing a seat belt when the accident happened.
In South Carolina, there are many riders who take to the open road each autumn. Unfortunately, these drivers are at much higher risks for severe injury and even death in the event of an accident as they’re not provided with nearly as much protection as those in passenger cars and trucks. For this reason, it’s important that we’re keeping a watchful eye out for these vulnerable motorists.
Over half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. Most of the time, the car or truck driver, not the motorcyclist, is at fault. There are a lot more cars and trucks than motorcycles on the road, and some drivers don’t “recognize” a motorcycle – they ignore it (usually unintentionally).
Because motorcycles are typically so narrow, they can easily be hidden in driver’s blind spots. This is why it’s critically important for drivers to take that extra second to look and to make sure that there are no motorcycles in your path before changing lanes or before making a turn.
Their small and narrow appearance will also make them appear to be farther away than they actually are. And with that, their speed is difficult to judge as well.
You’ve got to keep an eye on the brake lights, too. Oftentimes, motorcyclists will slow down by downshifting. On many of the bikes, this downshifting will not activate their brake light. For this reason, it’s important that you never follow too closely. Allow more following distance, say 3 or 4 seconds. At intersections, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
These two-wheeled travelers are more that motorcyclists, they’re people, and they deserve to be treated just like any other motorist. Remember that these riders are someone’s friend, neighbor or family member.
Riding a motorcycle properly is a skill you can learn. It takes thinking and practice to ride one well. Unfortunately, many riders never learn the critical skills to ride safely and enjoy the sport to its fullest.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Older Motorcycle Riders at Greatest Risk of Injury, North Carolina Accident Lawyers Blog, March 4, 2013
Motorcycle Accidents Victims Suffer the Costs of Recovery, North Carolina Accident Lawyers Blog, July 13, 2013