helmet lawsNews stories have been circulating online for the past few days regarding Federal Officials wanting to standardize helmet laws in all states. The National Transportation Safety Board wants to approach all states that lack a mandatory helmet law to enact one for every motorcycle rider and passenger on the road.

South Carolina law SECTION 56-5-3660 states that “Helmets shall be worn by operators and passengers under age twenty-one; helmet design; list of approved helmets.

It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one to operate or ride upon a two-wheeled motorized vehicle unless he wears a protective helmet of a type approved by the Department of Public Safety. Such a helmet must be equipped with either a neck or chin strap and be reflectorized on both sides thereof. The department is hereby authorized to adopt and amend regulations covering the types of helmets and the specifications therefor and to establish and maintain a list of approved helmets which meet the specifications as established hereunder.”

According to an article in the Post & Courier, “The (National Transportation Safety Board) said there were 4,400 motorcycle deaths in the U.S. last year, more than in all aviation, rail, marine and pipeline accidents combined. Head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes.” (read the full Post & Courier article here).

If the National Transportation Safety Board were to enforce the mandatory helmet law, it would mean that South Carolina helmet law would change to require all motorcyclists and their passengers to wear helmets—no matter their age.

What is your opinion on federal mandated helmet laws?

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There are sections in the South Carolina Code of Laws that specifically address the rights and duties of bikers. While you can access these code sections by clicking here, over the next few weeks I will be tackling individual sections of these South Carolina laws here on my blog.

It’s important as a South Carolina biker to take into account motorcycle laws for your safety and for others on the road.

The first section of South Carolina law I am going to discuss is:

SECTION 56-5-3630. Manner in which motorcycles shall be operated.

(a) A person operating a motorcycle shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat attached thereto and the operator shall not carry any other person nor shall any other person ride on a motorcycle unless the motorcycle is designed to carry more than one person, in which event a passenger may ride upon the permanent and regular seat if designed for two persons, or upon another seat firmly attached to the motorcycle at the rear or side of the operator.

Important: If your bike is NOT made to seat 2 people, your only other option to lawfully transport a passenger is to have a side-car.

(b) A person shall ride upon a motorcycle only while sitting astride the seat, facing forward, with one leg on each side of the motorcycle.

Let’s leave the stunts to the stuntmen.

Image taken from http://www.stuntlife.com/forums/motorcycle-pictures/files/1/1/0/9/1109mn_handstand_side_shot_skin_great-med.jpg

(c) No person shall operate a motorcycle while carrying any package, bundle or other article which prevents him from keeping both hands on the handlebars.

There are those unfortunate times when you have no choice but to drive a car.

(d) No operator shall carry any person, nor shall any person ride, in a position that will interfere with the operation or control of the motorcycle or the view of the operator.

(e) No person riding upon a motorcycle shall attach himself or the motorcycle to any other vehicle on the roadway.

From personal experience, I think that when this happens it is NOT done on purpose!

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