MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – As it gets warmer, the South Carolina Highway Patrol is preparing for the busy motorcycle season and warns riders and drivers to be extra cautious on the roadways. Troopers encourage everyone to share the road and save a life.
According to South Carolina Highway Patrol Corporal Sonny Collins, 27 motorcycle riders have been killed in South Carolina in 2016. By this time last year, there were 26 motorcycle deaths. Reducing motorcycle fatalities is a two-way street.
"If we can get both parts to respect each other and share the road, then we know we can have a safe summer with motorcycles here on the Grand Strand," said Collins.
As a reminder, troopers say drivers need to look both ways, check twice, check their blind spots, and pay close attention to a motorcycle's speed before they make any moves on the road. It may sound obvious, but all too often troopers say an accident happens because a driver didn't see a motorcycle coming. Collins said drivers also need to remember to leave more stopping distance.
"If you're behind a motorcycle, give them extra room. Because if they have to stop, you may not be able to stop in time," said Cpl. Collins.
Troopers are also watching for reckless motorcycle drivers, and they will not hesitate to pull someone over in order to prevent a crash or a tragedy.
"We talk so much to the motorist to watch out for these motorcycles – to do your part," said Collins. "We have to shift some of the focus back to motorcycles and say you can help yourself by driving responsibly and wearing your protective gear. So we're always looking for those reckless drivers, especially on motorcycles."
Speeding, tricks, and weaving in and out of traffic on a motorcycle is illegal. If you see any aggressive or reckless riders on the road, call *HP to report it to troopers.
"You do your job. When you get in your car, you drive the speed limit, you watch for other drivers. When you're on a motorcycle you drive responsibly, you're driving defensively. And if everybody does their job, then we can reduce fatalities," said Collins.
If you're under the age of 21, you must wear a helmet to ride a motorcycle in the state of South Carolina. After that, it's your choice. If you get caught not wearing one and you're under the age limit, you will be fined up to $100 or spend up to 30 days in jail.
If you are a new motorcycle owner and looking to buy one and you've never ridden before, troopers urge you to consider taking a rider education class. Click here to find the nearest class to you: http://www.scdps.gov/mtc/
And the SCHP is recruiting new troopers. The agency is looking for enough applicants to fill two classes, on in July and one in January. For information on becoming a trooper, click here: http://www.scdps.gov/sctrooper/
Below is data from the South Carolina Highway Patrol for traffic accident involving a motorcycle: