South Carolina has enacted laws to protect bicyclist from careless and malicious drivers in an effort to reduce the number of permanent injuries and death resulting from car-bicycle collisions.
Charleston, SC (PRWEB) October 26, 2012
John Hayes is a competitive cyclist and a Charleston bicycle accident attorney. On his rides, he sees more and more people are choosing healthier lifestyles and showing a greater interest in walking, running, and biking. At the law office, he sees how the increased vehicle traffic on the roads and rise in distracted driving has made a simple walk, run, or bike more dangerous. In an effort to make the roads safer for all, drivers should be aware of both their rights and their legal obligations when encountering bicyclists.
Historically, bicyclists have had the same rights and obligations as motorists. This is contrary to many misconceptions that motorists have. One such misconception is that bicyclists should use sidewalks or bike paths when available instead of roadways. Bicyclists can travel in groups of 50 or more and at speeds sometimes in excess of 30 mph. With that potential for speed and grouping, the only safe place is the roadway. In fact, many municipalities have ordinances prohibiting bicyclists from using the sidewalk.
On June 10th, 2008, then Governor Mark Sanford signed into law the Bicycle Safety Act (H3006), giving bicyclists expanded rights and placing additional obligations upon motorists. According to this law, "a driver of a motor vehicle must at all times maintain a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and a bicycle." This provision places the responsibility on the driver of a motor vehicle, meaning that the driver has a duty to anticipate activity on the roadway and assume a safe passing distance. There should always be a safe distance between the motorist and the bicyclist, and the motorist should avoid passing too closely, which could startle the cyclist and lead to a crash.
Another important aspect of this law reads, "It is unlawful to harass, taunt, or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle." Many bicyclists have been permanently injured when crashing due to verbal harassment, or from projectiles thrown by passing cars. Even if the bicyclist is not hit with the object, the driver may be forced to serve 30 days in jail.
Drivers should understand that their car, truck, or SUV is comparable to a bulldozer when encountering a bicyclist on the roadway. With that kind of force, there is just no room for mistakes.
Be safe out there, and keep an eye out for cyclists.
John Hayes is an attorney at Clore Law Group LLC. They take an aggressive approach to resolving cases that involve catastrophic and traumatic loss to individuals and businesses. Based in Charleston, SC, the firm practices across multiple states bringing together attorneys with formidable track records in winning settlements and jury trials through advanced trial science. Clore Law Group handles lawsuits covering personal injury and wrongful death claims, personal and physical safety breaches, slander and libel, and other injuries and accidents. The firm also handles business and personal losses including contract claims, insurance claims, building design and defects, and financial losses. The attorneys at Clore Law have been responsible for nearly $100 million in jury verdicts, and each of the firm’s attorneys has successfully handled a case resulting in an award of over $1 million. Applying innovation and technology to bring about the best possible outcome in every case, the team works with dedication and discipline to make complex matters simple and understandable. Clore Law serves clients across multiple states, with offices in S.C. and N.C., and attorneys licensed in eight states and Washington, D.C.