A motorcycle driver and his passenger were killed in an accident involving their motorcycle and a van. According to officials, the motorcycle collided with the van at the intersection of Highway 6 and Meadowfield Road after the motorcycle ran a stop sign at the intersection.
Motorcycle riders dead at scene
The 2002 Harley Davidson was traveling south on Meadowfield Road around 1:35 p.m. on Sunday afternoon when it ran through the stop sign and collided with a Chrysler minivan traveling west on Highway 6. Wayne E. Whitworth, 43, was driving the motorcycle and his wife Kristie A. Mason, 40, was a passenger. Neither of the riders was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the minivan was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and was not injured. The accident is currently under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Lexington County Coroner’s office. County Coroner Margaret Fisher told The State Whitworth had ignored the stop sign at the intersection just prior to the accident. That information was verified by Lance Corporal David Jones of the South Carolina Highway Patrol when he spoke to WLTX 19.
Motorcycle fatalities in South Carolina
Motorcycle fatalities are a significant concern for South Carolina. According to the state’s Office of Highway Safety, while only 1.7 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the state in 2010 involved motorcycles, motorcycle fatalities made up 10 percent of all traffic deaths that same year. There were 81 motorcycle riders that died in crashes that year while another 1,984 riders were injured.
The Office of Highway Safety also identified two key factors that contributed to the number of motorcycle fatalities in the state. The first was riding without a helmet. In fact, 69 percent of motorcycle riders killed in South Carolina in 2010 were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. A 2008 analysis performed in the state in 2008 showed that riders wearing a helmet were 71 percent less likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury in a crash as those that did not wear helmets.
Another factor in motorcycle fatalities was alcohol use. During 2011, intoxication was the most common contributing factor in fatal motorcycle crashes in the state. Officials also found that operating a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol significantly increased the risk of a fatal crash.
Determining liability in motorcycle accidents
While these factors are examples of crashes where the motorcycle driver may be found responsible for the accident, many motorcycle crashes are the fault of the driver of another vehicle. If it can be proven that negligence contributed to the accident (exceeding the speed limit, failing to follow other traffic laws or driving while distracted, for example) the victim of the motorcycle accident or their surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for the consequences of the crash.
If you or someone you love is the victim of a motorcycle crash in South Carolina, do not try to navigate the legal system on your own. Protect your rights and your interests by enlisting professional legal assistance. For a free evaluation of your case and answers to all of your legal questions, contact the experienced Columbia motorcycle accident lawyers near you at The Jeffcoat Firm today at (803) 200-2000.