Between 6 p.m. Friday and midnight Monday, 12 people were killed in South Carolina highway accidents, according to the SC Department of Public Safety, up from eight holiday weekend fatalities in the past two years. A significant factor in the increase was the number of motorcyclist deaths. Six motorcycle riders were killed within four days, five of them in Horry County, site of the Atlantic Beach Bikefest. Four bikers died in our state last year over the Memorial Day weekend, and two in 2011.
The weekend started off with two victims being pronounced dead at the scene of a Friday crash in Myrtle Beach near 30th Avenue North and Kings Highway, according to The Sun News. The bike’s driver lost control, crossed the center line and struck a Volkswagen. He and his passenger died in the crash; neither was wearing a helmet. Myrtle Beach police say no charges will be filed in this incident.
On Saturday, an 81-year-old man driving a motorcycle ran into the back of a van that had slowed in traffic on state Highway 22 and was killed. He had been wearing a helmet. The condition of his 80-year-old passenger is not known.
The next day, two more motorcycle deaths occurred when a bike ran into the side of an SUV that turned in front of it; the driver and passengers of the SUV were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.
In addition to the Bikefest fatalities, a 58-year-old man died from an accident on Saturday near Spartanburg when he ran off the road and was ejected from his motorcycle. He was not wearing a helmet.
As of midnight on May 27, 37 motorcyclists have died this year on South Carolina roads and highways.
• The US Department of Transportation offers these safety tips for motorcyclists:
• Watch for no-zones, or blind spots.
• Always wear a helmet.
• Drive to survive, being aware of other vehicles on the road.
• Maintain your bike and wear protective clothing.
• Watch your speed.