Bicyclists all over the country are advocating for improving roadway safety. Local governments have added bicycle lanes in hopes of better accommodating those who prefer two wheels to four. A 2011 article in Charleston Magazine correctly speculated that biking was the up-and-coming mode of transportation in South Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Transportation has since initiated a “Bicycle and Pedestrian Program,” emphasizing safety for all modes of transportation, particularly for cyclists riding on busy roads. Further demonstrating the trend, Night Huron Park held its Annual Patriotic Bike Parade and Independence Festival on Independence Day, allowing bikers a safe place to pedal.
Despite significant efforts on the behalf of local governments, accidents do happen. When a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist is involved in an accident without the protection of airbags or seatbelts, the result can be catastrophic. Recently, a vehicle hit and injured a cyclist in Greenville, SC. Bicyclists especially face dangers with their back against traffic and drivers who fail to share the road. The traffic laws in South Carolina aim to protect all individuals on the roadway, but violations of the law often result in serious injury.
South Carolina Bicycling Laws
Section 56-5-3430 states: “every bicyclists operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable.” The term “practicable” leaves much to be desired, particularly when drivers are often frustrated or unsure if they are permitted to pass a cyclist. These provisions also describe the “reasonable distance” that must exist between vehicles, vehicles and pedestrians, and vehicles and bicyclists.
When terms such as “practicable” and “reasonable” are used, it begs the question of what is considered “practicable” or “reasonable.” The answer is not black and white as it depends on the specific circumstances surrounding the particular situation. It is something that will ultimately be determined by a judge or a jury if a case goes to trial.
Another issue bicyclists and drivers face is simple unawareness of the laws are. There are specific laws explaining the differences between a cyclist in a bicycle lane and a bicycle simply on the roadway. Many organizations have taken toward advocating for improved driver’s education and spreading awareness to increase compliance. In South Carolina, for instance, the Palmetto Cycling Coalition has committed to “making South Carolina a bike friendly state.” Other local and national organizations advocate for similar objectives—hoping ultimately to spread awareness to make the roads a safer place for everyone.
Biking is a fun, healthy, convenient, environmentally-conscious mode of transportation that is becoming commonplace in our cities. More bikes on the road, however, increases the chance of accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured while riding your bicycle, you should contact a personal injury attorney to represent your interests. Callihan & Syracuse will work hard to help you recover your losses, whether it be from medical bills, missing work, or permanent injuries from a driver’s negligence. Reach out to us today to discuss your case.