If you ride a motorcycle in South Carolina, it’s essential to know and follow the state’s motorcycle laws. The laws are meant to keep you and others on the road safe and to prevent tragic accidents. Motorcyclists are vulnerable to crashes in South Carolina because they have little to protect them, so they must follow all safety regulations to decrease the chance of serious injury.
With more than 100 years of combined legal experience, the lawyers at the Jebaily Law Firm have a thorough understanding of the state’s motorcycle laws and how they apply to traffic accidents. We have decades of experience advocating for South Carolina motorcycle accident victims, helping them pursue the compensation they deserve.
Contact our office for a free consultation if you were injured in a motorcycle accident. We can evaluate your case and discuss your legal options with no further obligations on your part.
Common Motorcycle Laws in South Carolina
The South Carolina Code of Laws contains many statutes on the safe operation of motorcycles on the roads. Some of the motorcycle laws in South Carolina that are especially important to know include:
- Section 56-5-3610 – Under this law, anyone riding a motorcycle in South Carolina has the same rights and duties as other motorists unless a specific law says otherwise. The law is significant because it means motorcyclists deserve the same respect and courtesy as other road users. Unfortunately, many motorists do not take care when driving near motorcyclists, which can lead to severe accidents.
- Section 56-5-3630 – This law outlines some basic safety guidelines for operating and riding a motorcycle in South Carolina. For instance, a rider must use a permanent, attached seat, and passengers are allowed on a motorcycle only if they have a designated seat. Furthermore, an operator or passenger must sit with one leg on each side of the seat while riding, and an operator is prohibited from riding while carrying a package or anything that might interfere with their steering.
- Section 56-5-3640 – This law states that motorcyclists can ride side-by-side with another motorcyclist, though only two can ride side-by-side in any traffic lane at a time. However, motorcyclists are not allowed to ride between lanes of traffic to pass other vehicles, a practice sometimes referred to as lane-splitting. Under the law, motorcycle riders must move to an adjacent lane when passing other vehicles on the road.
- Section 56-5-3650 – This law designates required safety equipment for motorcycles in South Carolina. Specifically, all motorcycles must be equipped with footrests for riders and passengers unless the passenger is riding in a sidecar. Furthermore, all motorcycles in South Carolina must also be fitted with a rearview mirror.
- Section 65-5-3660– This is South Carolina’s motorcycle helmet law, which states that anyone under 21 must wear an approved helmet while riding. The law applies to both riders and passengers.
Laws That May Be Surprising
A few South Carolina motorcycle laws may surprise some riders, especially those new to motorcycle riding. These laws include:
- Section 56-5-3670 – In addition to the law requiring all motorcycle riders and passengers under 21 to wear a helmet, this law says riders and passengers under 21 must also wear goggles or have helmets equipped with face shields. The goggles or face shield must meet standards set by the state Department of Public Safety.
- Section 56-5-3700 – This law sets the penalties for breaking any of South Carolina’s motorcycle laws concerning required safety equipment. For instance, anyone guilty of not using required safety equipment can be fined up to $100, go to jail for up to 30 days, or both.
- Section 56-5-4460 – Under this law, motorcycle riders must have their lights turned on whenever they are riding so other drivers on the road can see them.
How to Get a Motorcycle License in South Carolina
According to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), specific requirements for obtaining a motorcycle license in South Carolina include:
- You must be 15 years old to apply for a beginner’s motorcycle permit.
- If you are under 18, a parent or legal guardian must sign a consent form before obtaining your beginner’s permit or license.
- Your driving privileges in South Carolina or any other state must not be revoked or suspended.
- You must pass a knowledge test to obtain your motorcycle beginner’s permit.
- You may have to take a vision test in certain circumstances.
- You must pass a road skills test before obtaining your full motorcycle license, which must be conducted by the DMV or an approved third-party instructor.
- If you already have a South Carolina driver’s license, you can attempt the knowledge and skills test on the same day to obtain your motorcycle license without getting a beginner’s permit.
How to Stay Safe Operating a Motorcycle
Knowing and understanding South Carolina’s motorcycle laws is crucial to staying safe on the road. Although other drivers are expected to obey traffic laws and be alert for motorcycle riders, that isn’t always the case. To decrease your chances of being involved in a collision while operating a motorcycle, you should follow these safety tips:
- Always wear a helmet and clothing that protects your arms and legs, even when it is warm outside.
- Check the weather forecast before you ride to avoid dangerous weather and road conditions.
- Be aware of other motorists and pedestrians on the road.
- Slow down in bad weather or heavy traffic.
- Make sure your motorcycle is in good working order before you ride.
- Ride in groups when possible, to make yourself more visible to drivers.
Contact Our Knowledgeable South Carolina Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
Accidents can happen even if you follow all of South Carolina’s motorcycle laws. If you were involved in a motorcycle collision caused by another motorist, you might be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries and other losses.
Contact the knowledgeable South Carolina motorcycle accident lawyers with Jebaily Law Firm today to discuss your legal options in a free case review. Our attorneys have decades of experience advocating for the rights of injury victims across the state.