Charleston Motorcycle & Moped Accident Lawyer
According to the Department of Public Safety, Charleston County saw 195 motorcycle collisions in 2018, with injury or death occurring in 150 (77%) of those crashes. Charleston experienced a similar pattern with mopeds, with injury or death occurring in 78.7% of the 61 moped crashes that happened in the county that year. Statewide, motorcycles make up three percent of registered vehicles in South Carolina, but motorcycle riders account for around 12% of traffic fatalities each year.
Clearly, motorcycle riding can be dangerous. No matter how safe or careful or skilled you are as a motorcyclist, you can’t always protect yourself from a drunk, distracted, negligent, reckless or aggressive driver behind the wheel of a motor vehicle six times heavier and many more times larger than your bike. If you get injured in a motorcycle or moped accident in Charleston, the Gus Anastopoulo Law firm can help you recover significant compensation to deal with what are likely to be severe or catastrophic injuries. We take an aggressive approach toward building a strong case through litigation so we are prepared to negotiate a full settlement from a position of strength or take your case to court if necessary to get the full value of your claim. Our practice also includes representation in wrongful death actions on behalf of family members who lost a loved one to the negligence of another in a Charleston motorcycle or moped crash. Call 843-310-5555 for a no-cost, confidential consultation.
What Are the Laws for Motorcycles in South Carolina?
Motorcyclists have all the rights of other drivers on the road, and they are subject to all the laws and rules of the road that apply to drivers of motor vehicles, except for any that by their nature would not apply to motorcycles. Drivers owe bikers respect and are obligated to share the road with them, meaning they should not drive aggressively or recklessly around motorcycles by cutting them off or pushing them out of their lane. Below are some of the laws that apply specifically to motorcycles in South Carolina.
Riders are required to ride only on the permanent and regular seat attached to the bike and may not carry another person. Passengers can only ride if the regular seat is designed for two persons or if another seat is firmly attached to the bike at the rear or side of the operator.
Operators must ride facing forward with one leg on each side of the seat. They may not carry anything that would interfere with their operation or ability to keep both hands on the handlebars. Riders may not grab on to any other vehicle nor attach the bike to another vehicle.
Two riders can ride abreast in a single lane, but no more than two may ride abreast in the same lane.
Motorcycles are entitled to occupy the center of the lane or otherwise have the lane all to themselves. Car drivers should not drive in a way that would crowd the motorcycle of its lane.
Motorcycles cannot pass vehicles by riding in the same lane as the other vehicle, nor can motorcycles ride between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of cars. This practice is commonly known as lane-splitting, lane-sharing or white lining. It is permissible in California but illegal in all other states, including South Carolina. Police officers on motorcycles can split lanes while on duty.
Motorcycles carrying a passenger must have footrests for the passenger. Motorcycles must have a working rearview mirror. Riders under 21 must wear a state-approved helmet and goggles or face shields. Goggles or face shields are not required if the motorcycle has a windscreen. Violation of the helmet law is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $100 or up to 30 days in jail.
What if the Rider Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet at the Time of the Crash?
Motorcycle helmets can save lives and reduce the severity of head injuries in a motorcycle accident, but they can’t prevent injuries every time. After a crash involving a head injury where the rider wasn’t wearing a helmet, the insurance company might want to argue that they shouldn’t have to pay for damages related to the head injury. However, those arguments don’t go over in South Carolina courtrooms. Since the state only requires riders under 21 to wear a helmet, South Carolina judges refuse to impose a judicial penalty on crash victims by considering the failure to wear a helmet to be negligent or contributorily negligence. When the other driver is wholly responsible for causing the crash, that driver is wholly responsible for paying all the damages that result.
Get Important Legal Help After a Charleston Motorcycle or Moped Accident
If you were injured in a collision while riding a motorcycle or moped in Charleston, or if you lost a close family member in a Charleston moped or motorcycle accident, call the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm at 843-310-5555 to discuss your claim. We offer a free initial consultation and accept cases on a contingency fee basis. Our fee is based on the amount we recover for you, and if we can’t recover, then we don’t charge any fee.