Vulnerable Roadway Users


See also: Pedestrians, Moped Operators, Bicyclists

The Overview

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.

Our Challenge

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.

(Helmet Usage )
View Graph


Education, Enforcement, Engineering and Emergency Management Services

1 Educate riders and drivers on motorcycle safety.

Strategies (how)

1.1   Expand Motorcycle Rider Education Program.

Implementation Area(s):  Education

1.2  Enhance educational efforts during motorcycle rallies.

Implementation Area(s):  Education

1.3   Maintain current motorcycle safety campaigns.

Implementation Area(s):  Education

1.4  Maintain current Motorcycle Safety Task Force to review and implement the most current assessment recommendations.

Implementation Area(s):  Education,  Public Policy

1.5   Support legislation requiring satisfactory completion of a certified Motorcycle Rider Education Program prior to licensing.

Implementation Area(s):  Public Policy

1.6  Educate users on the importance of wearing the proper safety gear.

Implementation Area(s):  Education

2 Minimize the adverse consequences of leaving the roadway by improving the roadside.

Strategies (how)

2.1   Provide a proper clear zone. Remove, relocate, shield, or delineate trees and other fixed objects where cost effective.

Implementation Area(s):  Engineering

3 Develop enforcement strategy based on top contributing factors to motorcycle-involved collisions.

Strategies (how)

3.1   Conduct aggressive enforcement; increase enforcement visibility in high-crash/risk areas.

Implementation Area(s):  Enforcement

3.2  Focus enforcement efforts on counties with highest number/rate of motorcyclist fatalities and serious injuries.

Implementation Area(s):  Enforcement

4 Review written knowledge test for motor vehicle drivers and motorcycle operators.

Strategies (how)

4.1   Enhance general road knowledge test to include motorcycle awareness questions.

Implementation Area(s):  Education,  Public Policy

4.2  Enhance motorcycle knowledge test to contain more motorcycle-specific questions..

Implementation Area(s):  Education,  Public Policy

5 Improve incident response.

Strategies (how)

5.1   Improve emergency response times to rural crash locations.

Implementation Area(s):  Emergency Response

5.2  Work with state and local fire, EMS, law enforcement, and incident response personnel to identify opportunities for reducing secondary crashes through coordinated incident response.

Implementation Area(s):  Education,  Engineering,  Emergency Response