New Cycling Laws Go Ignored & Unenforced in the Face of Bicycle Accidents, South Carolina

Many cities are finding increases in the number of bicycle accidents they are seeing each year. For many states, there is a problem with communicating safety procedures to cyclists and motorists alike. Many have enacted new laws to help protect both motorists and cyclists. Since 2008, new cycling laws have been on the books in South Carolina. In spite of these new laws, in the face of serious bike accidents, it is beginning to become evident that these new laws are not being enforced.

The Greenville News reported a bicycle accident in an article that involved two cyclists and a motorists. The problem is that many bicycle safety advocates in the community are outraged because the motorist was at fault in this bike accident and is not being charged under the new laws which carry stiffer criminal and civil penalties. The details of the accident were reported in the article and are summarized here.

The Mauldin Bicycle Accident
The bicycle accident of interest took place in Mauldin and was handled by the Mauldin police. A Woodruff woman struck two cyclists from behind as they rode on Bridges Road towards East Butler Road and was charged with speeding and negligence. The two cyclists were wearing protective gear that included helmets and reflective gear. The report from the Mauldin police showed that in no way were the cyclists at fault in this bike accident and both suffered leg injuries, one severe.

New Bike Accident Law
The problem that many have with how the bicycle accident was handled is how the charges against the at-fault-driver were handled. The new law, enacted in 2008, states that drivers must maintain a safe operating distance from cyclists and can be cited and fined up to $1,000 for a mishap that causes bodily injury. Another tenet of this new law is that harassing, taunting, or throwing objects at cyclists carries a minimum $250 fine.

Problem with Enforcement
“Officers at some agencies haven’t been trained to implement the new laws or are unaware that the stiffer laws exist,” said Sally Nicholson, a representative of the Upstate as a board member on the Palmetto Cycling Coalition. The problem seems to be that of communication. Cyclists and bicycle accident lawyers are well aware of these laws but this awareness needs to spread to motorists and the police that enforce the laws. Bicycle accidents will only increase in many areas, as the sport continues to grow in popularity, unless both cyclists and motorists begin to understand and follow safety procedures.

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