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Facts about motorcycle fatalities

South Carolina attempts to encourage motorcycle safety on the roads through a wide variety of methods. However, the fact remains that cycling can be dangerous, and the danger appears to be increasing. Motorcycle fatalities have increased nationwide by more than 33 percent since 2003. The rate increased 7 percent just from 2011 to 2012.

According to statistics, 146 people died on motorcycles in South Carolina in 2012 alone. This is in spite of the fact that motorcycles are comparatively quite rare on the road. Motorcycles represent only 3 percent of all registered vehicles in America. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that they are driven for less than 1 percent of all the miles traveled in a year. However, they are involved in 15 percent of all road fatalities. This means that in an average mile a motorcyclist is 26 times more likely to be killed than the driver of a car.

Motorcycles are more dangerous in two-car collisions and in crashes by themselves. In 2012, approximately 22 percent of all motorcycle fatalities arose from a collision with a fixed object, as compared to 18 percent for cars and 4 percent for large trucks. In that year, 52 percent of all motorcycle fatalities came from a crash in which another car was involved. In only 7 percent of those crashes was the cyclist struck from behind. Fully 75 percent of those fatal collisions were head-on or involved the motorcyclist running into the other car with the front of their vehicle.

Motorcycle accidents may not be completely preventable in the statistical sense, but a cyclist who has been injured through the actions of another driver may choose to file a suit for compensatory and other damages.

Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, "Traffic Safety Facts Motorcycles", October 24, 2014

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