Three State Reps Have Filed New Legislation to Require Helmets for Motorcycle Safety
Three state representatives have filed new legislation to require helmets for motorcycle drivers and passengers in response to a recent spike in motorcycle accident deaths.
On Wednesday, January 14th, Reps. Wendell Gilliard, Carl Anderson, and J. Seth Whipper, from Charleston, filed House Bill 4500, which proposes a helmet requirement for motorcyclists in the Palmetto State.
“This is about saving lives,” said Gilliard on Thursday, January 15th. “I feel like that’s one of the things I was sworn to do.”
Fatal motorcycle accidents have gone up in South Carolina since 2010. That year, there were a reported 81 deaths in motorcycle accidents. In 2012, that number rose to 110, and last year it reached 121.
Part of the reason for the spike, according to Gilliard, has to do with the state’s growing population. When previous motorcycle safety legislation was passed, he says, there was not as much business and not as much traffic. South Carolina requires those under 21 to wear motorcycle helmets, but that measure alone is not enough to promote better safety.
“The only way to be safe is to wear a helmet,” he said. “It’s better to be safe, to be proactive, than to be sorry.”
However, similar legislation has been filed before and it never left committee. In 2012, former Senator Ralph Anderson, from Greenville, filed a similar bill but it never went out of committee for a vote. Governor Nikki Haley also threatened to veto the bill, provided it was voted into law by the Senate and House.
A biker’s rights group called ABATE has also learned about the potential new legislation and asked its members to voice their opinion about mandatory helmet laws.
“We believe there’s a freedom of choice that motorcyclists across the state should be able to choose,” said Chad Fuller, an attorney and spokesman for the group. “We don’t advocate not wearing a helmet. We don’t believe that helmets save lives. Education saves lives.”
Lowcountry Harley-Davidson also released a statement about the motorcycle safety legislation:
“While we encourage motorcyclists to wear protective gear while riding, the Harley-Davidson brand is built on freedom. We believe that the individual rider should have the freedom to choose whether to wear a helmet or not.”
Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Fatalities
A motorcycle accident typically involves serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries to the driver. Many times, these accidents are the result of careless conduct by individuals driving automobiles and other larger motor vehicles.
The amount of compensation that a person injured or killed in a motorcycle accident receives depends upon several facts, including the financial losses, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.
The Strom Law Firm Accident Attorneys Can Help with Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
The Strom Law Firm’s South Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys will carefully analyze all aspects of the sequence of events, road conditions, and mechanical factors which led to the collision. If you have suffered a serious personal injury, or the wrongful death of a loved one due to another person’s negligence, call The Strom Law Firm, LLC at 803.252.4800 or contact us in Columbia, South Carolina, for a free consultation.