South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Statistics – Bikers Beware
According to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV), in 2019 there were 215,957 motorcyclists registered to ride in the state. That’s about 23,000 more than there were in 2018. With so many people taking advantage of South Carolina’s beautiful weather and open roads on two wheels, the importance of careful driving and riding habits is increased. Unfortunately, riders are still being injured and killed on the road.
We source our data from reliable resources, but that doesn’t mean the numbers match! The methodologies used by different entities to aggregate data may differ. For example, the FARS (see below) counts mopeds along with motorcycles, while SCDMV does not.
A History of Hurt: Motorcycle Injury Trends in South Carolina
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and its Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), South Carolina has historically been a dangerous place to ride – though that may have to do with the sheer number of motorcycle riders in the state, and not necessarily any unique threat on its roads.
- According to data from the NHTSA, from 2011-2015, the state’s percentage of motorcyclist fatalities was above the national average – in 2015, 18.8% of South Carolina’s traffic fatalities were motorcyclists, well above the national average of 14.2%.
- From the same NHTSA data, between 2011-2015, 73.1% of South Carolina’s motorcyclist fatalities were not wearing helmets.
- In 2016, there were 187 motorcyclist deaths on South Carolina roads according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). That number dropped to 141 in 2017 based on preliminary GHSA data. According to data from an article from The State, in 2018, there were 104. The trend reversed in 2019, when there were 113 deaths through November – with the dangerous New Year Holiday not yet counted.
When Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen in South Carolina?
Though accidents can happen at any time, the data can tell us some of the most dangerous times to ride a motorcycle in South Carolina. A few might surprise you. According to the Revised 2018 South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book, in 2018:
- There were appreciably more total motorcycle accidents in May (252) and June (243) than other months.
- June was the month with the most motorcyclist injuries (184). May was second (182).
- May, August, and October were the most deadly months for motorcyclists with 14 fatal accidents each. May had the most deaths with 17.
- Saturday was the most dangerous day as far as total motorcycle accidents (427), injury accidents (304), fatal accidents (39), and was by far the most deadly with 45 total deaths.
- The most dangerous time to ride was from 3-6pm, when the most accidents (478) and injury accidents (344) occurred. The most deadly time period was from 6-9pm, with 30 fatal accidents and 35 persons killed.
Where Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen in South Carolina?
It’s worth noting that SCDPS classifies roads as Interstate, US Primary, SC Primary, Secondary, County, and Ramp. The most South Carolina motorcycle accidents in 2018 occurred on secondary roads, which accounted for 629 collisions. Those secondary roads also had the most injury collisions with 473. The deadliest roads, however, were SC Primary roads with 33 fatal collisions and 35 persons killed.
Interstates, where speeds are generally higher, only accounted for 101 collisions, 79 total injuries, and 8 fatalities. Based on the 2018 SCDPS data, they were statistically safer than other road types except Ramps.
More South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Statistics
There are a few more statistics of note regarding motorcycle crashes in the Palmetto State. According to a Motorcycle Industry Council survey published in USA Today, 19% of motorcyclists nationwide are female. In 2018, only 11.4% of riders involved in collisions in South Carolina were female. Women accounted for fewer than 10% of fatalities (10 out of 111 total fatal collisions).
In South Carolina, helmets are required for riders under the age of 21.
- In 2018, there were 38 fatalities and 672 injuries involving motorcycle riders with helmets, along with 215 instances when those riders were not injured in the collision.
- In the same time period, there were 54 fatalities and 533 injuries involving motorcycle riders not wearing helmets, along with 161 instances when those riders were not injured in the collision.
- In circumstances when helmet usage was unknown, there were 19 fatalities and 337 injuries, along with 115 instances when the rider was not injured in the collision.
Motorcyclists in Need Can Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin
Let’s face it – drivers can be more distracted now than ever. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be aware of your surroundings as a rider, and to know your rights if you’re in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina.