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Greenville Motorcycle, Moped, Scooter Safety in Focus this Fall

A moped rider has died in a Greenville accident after being hit by a car, according to the South Carolina Highway Patrol. The car apparently came up on the rider from behind and couldn’t stop in time.

At Grimes Teich Anderson, our Greenville personal injury attorneys know about the serious and fatal injuries associated with such accidents. Of course, larger bikes are no safer. CBS 7 News reports that a 48-year-old Spartanburg man has died from injuries sustained in a Greenville County motorcycle accident at Highways 253 and 290. Troopers report an SUV pulled out in front of the motorcycle.Just a year ago, a back-up quarterback for the University of South Carolina was found unconscious after wrecking a moped.

Broken bones, Road rash, head injuries and burns commonly result when a rider survives an accident. While mopeds are designed to be slower, with a cruising speed of 20 to 30 miles an hour, that may present its own problems. A motorist may quickly overtake a rider. And riders are often inexperienced; South Carolina moped law permits riders as young as 12 years-old to legally ride a moped. With school back in session, more riders may be out as long as the weather remains nice.

That goes for motorcycles as well. The fall in the Carolinas is a rider’s paradise. Full Throttle reports rides are scheduled across North and South Carolina in the coming weeks. South Carolina’s helmet law only requires riders under the age of 20 to wear a helmet. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports North Carolina law requires all riders to wear a helmet.

Riders should properly qualify for a motorcycle endorsement, enroll in safety classes and take a common-sense approach to safety. However, the fact remains that motorists are frequently responsible for accidents. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation reports that more than half of car v. motorcycle accidents are the fault of the vehicle’s driver. Primary cause? A failure to yield and turning in front of a rider — the scenario that reportedly occurred in the recent Greenville accident.

South Carolina’s “Alive at 25” program encourages all riders to obey the law. Those seeking a motorcycle license must be at least 15 years old and have possessed a driver’s permit for at least 6 months.

There’s plenty of evidence that rising gas prices and the tough economy are putting a record number of motorcycle and scooter riders on our roads. During the downturn, The New York Times reported scooter sales were up 24 percent. And, the last time gas prices topped $4 a gallon, scooter sales shot up more than 64 percent.

Of course, the rise in ridership was not without an increase in accident risks. During that same time period, the Winston-Salem Journal reported accidents involving two-wheeled vehicles were up 38 percent — with more than 100 scooter and motorcycle accidents reported during the first 6 months of 2008.

Statewide, the news is no better. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 179 riders were killed in North Carolina motorcycle accidents in 2010. South Carolina motorcycle crashes claimed 97 lives that year.

Expect record numbers of our two-wheeled friends on the roads in September and October.

A last word about insurance: Please insure your ride … and yourself. Moped or scooter insurance can typically be purchased for less than $300 a year. Motorcycle coverage is only slightly more expensive. Insurance is a vital requirement in the wake of a serious accident. And the $50 a month you’ll spend is well worth the peace of mind.

Additional Resources:
Troopers: Mo-ped driver killed in crash, By Christy Andrews, WCTI News Channel 12, Aug. 24, 2012.

As Gas Prices Rise, Scooters Grow in Popularity, June 2, 2008, By Jennifer Lee, The New York Times.

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