HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A series of motorcycle crashes claimed multiple lives over the weekend in Horry County.
The deadly incidents are bringing into focus, the risks of riding as more bikers take to the roads.
Three deadly motorcycle crashes in a matter of days is a sobering reminder of the dangers motorcycle riders face.
“What we don’t want to see is loss of life on our highways and certainly not like we did this weekend with three motorcyclists in just a 36-hour period," said South Carolina Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins.
New numbers from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety show 18 motorcycle deaths across the state this year compared to 27 during the same time last year. While the data shows a decrease in the number of deaths so far this year, the series of motorcycle deaths over the weekend serves as a wake up call.
"As soon as the weather turns warm, those motorcycles that have been in those garages all winter, they're ready to get on them and ride. But that's an adjustment for drivers as well because we haven't seen the motorcycles all year like we'll now start seeing."
Sgt. Ray Pollock has been a motorcycle officer with the City of North Myrtle Beach for the past 11 years. He teaches motorcycle training to the public each year. Pollock said the most important thing drivers can do is share the road and look twice for motorcyclists.
“Don’t dart out in front of motorcycles, give them a chance to pass. It’s not worth being in a wreck or hurting somebody, or yourself for that matter," said Pollock.
Collins said there are also things riders can do to protect themselves.
“Wear your protective equipment, be responsible on the motorcycle as you would in a car which means don’t speed, don’t be distracted," said Collins.
Although there’s no helmet law in the state of South Carolina, public safety officials said choosing to wear one could be the difference between life or death.
“You look at a motorcycle that’s going 55 mph. It spills onto the road or it hits another object and that person on the motorcycle typically gets ejected from the motorcycle. You know, one of the first things it’s going to impact is going to be your upper body or your head and having that area protected is vital when it comes to surviving these crashes," said Collins.
The North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety is holding its next motorcycle collision avoidance training seminar September 14th. It’s free and open to all motorcycle riders who have basic riding knowledge.