Charleston Bicycle Accident Attorney

Powerful Representation for Victims of Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle safety on the roads of Charleston and the rest of South Carolina is an area of great concern for local and state authorities alike. When a car fails to take necessary precautions in driving safely around cyclists, the cyclist is the one who oftentimes suffers greater injury. Because bicycles offer virtually no protection to their riders, injuries from bicycle accidents are notoriously severe. If the driver of a car was responsible for causing a cyclist's injuries, a personal injury attorney in Charleston can assist the victim in recovering compensation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 46,000 cyclists are injured in accidents and most of those accidents involved a car or other vehicle. In the year 2003, 622 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents, 30% of those fatal accidents involved alcohol-impaired driving by one or more involved.

Bicycle Accidents and Negligent Driving

The dangers for cyclists on public roads and streets are very real. In South Carolina, it is estimated that bicycle accidents make up 1.6% of all traffic accidents in the state, making it the most accident-prone state for bicyclists in the entire country. The South Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles has taken note of these statistics and is working to promote safety on the road and to encourage drivers of vehicles to share the road with their fellow cyclist. Unfortunately, whether due to recklessness or negligence, bicycle accidents still occur quite frequently.

Studies show that bicycle accidents involving vehicles are usually due to one of several contributing factors. The most common causes of bicycle accidents include:

  • A driver's failure to notice the cyclist
  • A driver's failure to yield the right of way
  • Driving too close to the designated bike lane
  • Immediately cutting off a cyclist at dangerous speeds.

Cyclists and motor vehicle drivers have a mutual responsibility to exercise care when sharing the road with one another. It can be argued that people driving motor vehicles have a greater duty to be careful because of how vulnerable bicycles are on the open road.

Unsafe Road Design for Cyclists

While a majority of traffic accidents involving a bicycle and a vehicle are due to the vehicle driver's failure to share the road with the cyclist, bicycle accidents in South Carolina have been connected with unsafe road signs concerning bike lanes. Some roads provide dangerous conditions for cyclists. One example of this are intersections that include a bike box for cyclists to move left into the designated area in front of motor vehicles waiting to turn left at the intersection.

These boxes are dangerous because they encourage cyclists to cross on the right side of traffic that may turn right at any moment. Furthermore, bike boxes allow bicyclists to turn left, crossing other traffic with little to no protection clearance. The design and use of bike boxes at intersections have been deemed unsafe by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. If an accident occurs because of a bike box, it may warrant grounds for filing a claim against the city for unsafe road design.

Another very common road condition that poses a threat to cyclists is the absence of or insufficient bike lanes. Bike lanes are designated lanes that run alongside traffic and try to offer protection to cyclists. The danger arises when the bike lanes are not designed in a way that allows for safe integration of traffic and bicycles at right turns. Cyclists do not account for the possibility of cars merging into the bike lane in order to turn right at an intersection, which can be dangerous. Some states, such as California, have taken measures to make lanes safer by either striping or dropping the bike lane within 200 feet of the intersection to provide the cyclist with a timely warning of possible merging cars.

Sometimes, a car may parallel park on the road, obstructing the pathway of a bike lane. This is either due to the bike lane being too close to a legal parking area or in some cases the city has failed to account for the possibility that a car may park in the middle of a bike lane. With vehicles so close to the bike lane, drivers who fail to notice oncoming cyclists from behind may open their door suddenly and cause the cyclist to either have to swerve into traffic or crash into the door. Either way, the cyclists stands to sustain serious injuries if the roads are not safe and the drivers are not proceeding with caution.

We Will Fight for Your Rights and Your Compensation

At McLeod Law Group, LLC, we firmly believe in the community's responsibility to provide for safe biking. Cycling is a beloved recreation for many in Charleston due to the area's landscape. We are passionate and motivated to represent injured cyclists and their families both in court and in settlement meetings in order to recover the compensation that is owed by those responsible for the damage.

Mullins McLeod, our firm's founder and prominent Charleston personal injury attorney, has been recognized in local and legal communities alike for his exceptional ability to obtain settlements and verdicts for his injured clients. If you or your loved one was injured or killed in a bicycle accident, attorney McLeod and his skilled legal team would like to help ensure that you are compensated for your losses.

Contact a Charleston bicycle accident lawyer from our firm today to learn more about our firm and how we can help you.