Bicycle collisions happen almost every day across South Carolina.
Many are quite severe - for example, over the weekend, a bicyclist was killed in Dillon, S.C. when they were struck by a train after riding around the crossing arms.
Although most bicycle accidents are not fatal, when bicycle meets automobile (or train) the bicyclist usually does not fare well.
Bicycle Injury Statistics in South Carolina
Nationwide, in 2015, 818 people were killed in bicycle crashes with motor vehicles, and there were an estimated 45,000 bicycle injuries.
In South Carolina, in 2015, there were 16 recorded bicycle fatalities and 427 persons injured in bicycle collisions. These numbers may seem high, but the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center points out that "research into hospital records shows that only a fraction of bicycle crashes causing injury are ever recorded by the police, possibly as low as ten percent."
Causes of Bicycle Deaths and Injuries in South Carolina
According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, as many as a third of bicycle injuries are caused by collisions with cars. In 2012, a national survey identified the following most frequent sources of bicycle injuries:
- Auto collisions with bicycles: 29%
- Falling from bicycles: 17%
- Damaged roads or walkways: 13%
- Bicyclist error or bicyclist not paying attention: 13%
- Other crashes or collisions: 7%
- Dogs: 4%
Automobile Collisions with Bicycles
Car crashes are the most common source of bicycle injuries and deaths, but what are the most common reasons that cars crash into bicycles? Understanding how bicycle/ auto crashes happen is key to avoiding a crash. The most common scenarios include:
- Car drivers making a left turn in front of the bicyclist - this is the most common scenario which accounts for almost half of bicycle/ car crashes;
- Automobile drivers passing the bicyclist to their left and then making a right turn in front of the bicyclist;
- Rear-end collisions where a car hits a bicyclist from behind;
- Cars turning out of a driveway or parking lot into the path of a bicyclist; and
- A car driver opening their door as a bicyclist passes their vehicle.
Can I Sue After a Bicycle Accident in SC?
Bicycle crashes with cars are often the fault of a careless driver who is not paying attention. Every driver has a duty of care to ensure that they do not strike a bicyclist with their car - when a driver does not look for bicycles and causes a death or injury, they are responsible for any damages that their negligence caused.
In most cases, the negligent driver's auto insurance company will defend the lawsuit and pay damages. If the driver does not have insurance or if the driver's insurance is not sufficient to cover the damages, there may be other sources of recovery available such as your own uninsured or underinsured policy.
Early in your case, your Myrtle Beach auto accident attorney will identify all possible sources of recovery.
Myrtle Beach SC Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Contact your personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the collision to help you determine who was at fault, identify possible sources of recovery, and to begin the process of gathering the evidence that you will need to make your claim or file your lawsuit.
If you have been injured in a bicycle collision or any auto accident in Horry County, Myrtle Beach, or the Rock Hill area, schedule a free consultation with a Myrtle Beach personal injury lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.