News station WYFF4 recently reported on a motorcycle crash in Greenville County that left one woman dead and her husband seriously injured. South Carolina troopers said that the couple was riding their motorcycle westbound on South Carolina Highway 418 when the motorcycle went off the road and hit a guardrail. Both Tyus Butler, who was driving, and his wife Anita Butler, who was a passenger, were thrown off the motorcycle on impact. Though they were both wearing helmets, Anita Butler died at the site of the crash from the trauma. Tyus Butler was alive, though seriously injured, and flown to Greenville Memorial Hospital.
The tragic crash highlights how important it is to be as safe as possible while riding motorcycles, and how important motorcycle safety is to preventing tragedies like this one.
Increase in Motorcycle Deaths
Unfortunately, there has been an increase in motorcycle accident fatalities in South Carolina over the last year. The South Carolina Highway Patrol identified a 50 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities in 2015 over the number of deaths in 2014. While the Highway Patrol has not been able to identify any specific cause for this increase, they speculate that it could be to having slightly colder than usual temperatures and more rain in 2014. Therefore keeping motorcyclists at home instead of out riding where there may have been a potential for an accident.
Regardless of the cause of the increase, the South Carolina Highway Patrol does recommend that prospective bikers take classes on motorcycle safety and that riders make sure that they follow all the rules and best practices for safety. They cite constant and consistent education as a mitigating factor in motorcycle crashes and fatalities.
How to Stay Safe While Riding a Motorcycle
The South Carolina Highway Patrol has started a campaign to urge motorcycle riders to “ride smart”. The campaign wants motorcycle riders and passengers to try to prepare for a potential accident before even leaving the house. Journalscene quotes Lance Cpl. Matt Southern as saying, “We want you to dress for the crash, not the ride.” There are some things that motorcycle riders can do to try to ride as safe as possible. These safety tips include:
- Wear a Helmet – South Carolina law does not require people riding motorcycles to wear helmets, but helmets are highly recommended. From the Journalscene article: “While state law doesn’t require riders age 21 and older to wear a helmet, it’s a mistake some pay for with their lives. At least 44 of the fatal collisions that have occurred across the state since January involved motorcycles, Southern said. More than 130 victims perished in motorcycle crashes in 2015. Of that total, 76 percent weren’t wearing a helmet, according to Southern.” It is clear that helmets can help save lives.
- Wear Other Protective Gear – Helmets are not the only safety equipment that motorcycle riders can take advantage of. There is a reason that bikers are a associated with leather, and that is because wearing leathers can help to protect skin in the case of an accident. Leather jackets, pants, and gloves are recommended for motorcycle riders and passengers for this reason.
- Be (and Stay) Visible – Visibility is one of the most important ways for bikers to stay safe. Make sure that you stay out of cars blind spots and if you are signaling to change lanes or turn, make sure that cars can see you and are able to anticipate what you are about to do. At night make sure that you are visible in the dark by wearing reflective tape and making sure your motorcycle lights and other visibility devices are working properly.
- Drive Safely – Motorcycles are required to follow the same traffic rules and laws as other vehicles are and it is important that they do this. Motorcycles are also more susceptible to accidents in poor weather conditions so before you ride make sure that the weather will not interfere with your safety.
- Be Defensive – The University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research has found that in accidents between motorcycles and cars, cars are at fault 60 percent of the time. Even though it is usually the driver of the car that is at fault, people riding motorcycles are more vulnerable to injury. Therefore, motorcyclists need to practice defensive driving and always be aware of errors that cars may make.
What to Do If You Get into a Motorcycle Accident
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident the very first concern is making sure that everyone is safe and getting the medical attention they need. If someone is able to emergency services should be called immediately to make sure that all the medical needs are taken into account. Even if you feel okay, the impact of motorcycle accidents can cause injuries that will show up later and a medical professional should examine you. Another common issue in accidents are head injuries. Head injuries can have long lasting effects that do not always show up right away so if you think that you could have any kind of head injury make sure that you get appropriate medical care to rule out any hidden internal injuries.
Once you are stable and have cooperated with the requests of emergency services and any law enforcement that were on the scene you should contact a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney can help you to make sure that you have the medical care, medical records and documentation that you need to give a full account of your injuries. There are also time limits on some parts of a personal injury claim and an attorney can help you make sure you do not run afoul of any of these time limits.
Greenville, South Carolina Car Accident Attorneys
It is crucial that you seek legal consultation as soon as possible after an accident. Whether you were injured in a motorcycle, car, or other kind of accident, you need skilled personal injury attorneys on your side to fight for the maximum recovery. Experienced Greenville, South Carolina car accident attorneys at the law firm of Double Aught Injury Lawyers can help you throughout the whole legal process.