Upstate bikers warn distracted drivers are biggest danger


There have been three deadly motorcycle crashes over four days in the Upstate.

The string of fatal crashes in the first week of May coincide with National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Local bikers shared tips about how they stay vigilant on the roads.

Veteran motorcyclist Robert Rattray says distracted drivers are a big danger.

“Put the cell phone down first,” Rattray said.

“It’s easy to glance into somebody’s window and see them texting, changing music, whatever… phone in front of them… something in front of their face and that’s nerve racking,” Robert Hermen said.

When a driver’s full attention is not on the road they become a danger to everyone, especially those on two wheels.

“A motorcycle is only so big, so the blind spots are increased by that,” Hermen said.

While the riders say they haven’t been run off the road, Rattray says they’ve still had some close calls.

The experienced riders tell 7News they rely on defensive driving skills they’ve learned from instructional time and years of driving. They practice tactics like riding in the middle lanes and avoiding blind spots, but say nothing beats trips with buddies.

“It’s good if you can ride with other people, because then if they see one… they know okay there’s bikes.” Hermen said.

They have some advice for motorcyclists riding alone.

“Always pretend like you’re invisible,” Hermen said. “That’s what I kind of keep in the back of my mind. If you think they can’t see you, you’re going to be a little bit more defensive.”

But they also shared some word of wisdom for drivers.

“With the technology that cars have today, you’ve got sensors all around the car… you feel like the car is going to tell you everything that’s around you and it doesn’t,” Rattray said.

In the last decade, nearly three-quarters of bikers who died in crashes on South Carolina roads were not wearing helmets. State law only requires motorcyclist 20 years and under to wear the protective gear.


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