Motorcycle safety is an issue that remains of great concern in the state of South Carolina. State data indicates that 110 motorcyclists died on South Carolina roadways in 2012. In South Carolina, the motorcycle percentage of total traffic-related deaths decreased from 12.4% in 2008 to 9.8% in 2009, but then increased each year thereafter to its highest level of 14.3% in 2012. The percentage of deaths in 2012 that were motorcyclists (14.3%) represents a 27.4% increase from the prior four-year average. In our state, motorcycles make up 3% of registered vehicles, but motorcyclists account for nearly 12% of the traffic fatalities. Data analysis of motorcycle-involved fatal and severe injury collisions revealed impairment and speeding to have been major contributing factors to the collisions and a majority of motorcyclist fatality victims were male.
South Carolina law requires helmet use for riders under the age of 21. As shown in Table 11, throughout the five years 2008-2012, 74.2% of South Carolina’s motorcyclists who died were not wearing a helmet. With the exception of the less-than-16 age group, all age groups demonstrated helmet use under 40%.
90% of severely injured and 93% of fatally injured motorcyclists did not have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license.