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Bicycle Safety

Description: Child wearing bicycle helmet

According to DHEC data, in the years 2005 to 2007, South Carolina had 49 deaths and 360 non-fatal injuries due to bicyclists being struck by motorized vehicles. Compared to other states in the US, South Carolina is one of the most risky places to ride a bicycle according to data provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). South Carolina has ranked in the top ten among states in the US with the highest per capita bicycle fatality rate for the last decade. For many of those years, the per capita bicycle fatality rate has more than doubled the national average.

Here are some following steps to protect you and your love ones while riding a bicycle in the roadways:

  • Protect your head. Wear a properly fitted helmet.
  • Before each ride check that tires are properly inflated, brakes work, and the wheels aren't loose.
  • Always wear shoes while riding a bicycle.
  • Ride a bike that is the right size for you.
  • Carry no passengers (except children riding in approved baby seats).
  • Wear bright colored clothing and, if riding at night, place reflective stickers or patches on clothing and/or bicycle so drivers will see you.
  • In low light conditions use a white front and red rear reflector lights that projects at least 500 feet to the front of bicycle and 50 feet to 300 feet in the rear.
  • When exiting a driveway, stop, look left, look right, look left again, and exit only when there is no traffic.
  • Stay alert. Always keep a lookout for obstacles in your path.
  • Ride on the RIGHT with the flow of traffic, in a single file.
  • Stop at all STOP signs and all traffic lights.
  • Do not ride in the wrong direction on one-way streets.
  • Use proper hand signals to indicate turns.
    • Left Turn - extend left arm straight out
    • Right Turn - extend left arm, bend elbow up at a 90-degree angle
    • Stop - extend left arm, bend elbow down at a 90-degree angle
  • Give the right of way to pedestrians.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For information, contact us at (803) 545-4349 or poorek@dhec.sc.gov. See a brief description of the work performed by DHEC's Division of Injury and Violence Prevention.