Ride to the Right

Bicyclists are required to ride in designated bike lanes, except when it would put them or others in immediate danger. When riding on roads without bike lanes, you must stay as far to the right as you reasonably and safely can.

Local Ordinances Govern Sidewalk Riding

Bicyclists in South Carolina are generally permitted to ride on the sidewalk. However, they may not do so if local laws prohibit sidewalk riding. Bicyclists riding on the sidewalk must also yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Reflector Lights

Riding a bicycle at night is dangerous. However, if you choose to ride at night, South Carolina law requires you to equip your bike with a front white light that can be seen from at least 500 feet away, as well as a red rear light or red rear reflector light visible from at least 300 feet away.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also recommends using lights to improve bicyclist safety at night. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing reflective clothing when riding at night.

Number of Individuals Permitted on a Bicycle

It is important to know how many riders your bicycle was designed to accommodate. It is illegal in South Carolina for a bicycle to carry more riders than it was designed for.

Hands on the Handlebars

You must have at least one hand on the handlebars of your bike when riding. Generally, you should keep both hands on the handlebars, except when signalling a turn.

No More Than Two Abreast

In most instances, bicyclists in South Carolina can ride no more than a maximum of two abreast. The only times when this rule doesn’t apply are when bicyclists are in designated bike lanes or areas of the road that are for used exclusively by bicyclists.

Stop Signs and Traffic Signals

The rules that apply to motorists regarding stop signs and red lights also apply to bicyclists. When riding a bike, you must come to a complete stop at a stop sign and a red light. 

Signaling

Another law that applies to both motorists and bicyclists is the requirement to signal turns and stops. Familiarize yourself with the relevant hand signals if you have not done so already. Again, riding with both hands on the handlebars is generally recommended but not required. Signalinga turn is an entirely appropriate reason to ride with one hand on the handlebars.

Where to Ride When Bike Paths Are Available

If a bike lane is not available, but an adjacent recreational bike path is, bicyclists are technically permitted to ride on the road. However, for your own safety, you may want to ride on the bike path anyway. Doing so will significantly reduce your chances of being harmed in an accident.

Riding on the Shoulder

Once more, when no bike lane is present, bicyclists must ride as far to the right as they can without endangering themselves or others. That said, while bicyclists can ride on the shoulder, they are not required to do so.

Remember, these laws exist to ensure your own safety. Obeying them can keep you out of harm’s way. It can also boost your chances of recovering proper compensation if you ever are injured in a South Carolina bike accident.

Under South Carolina law, the amount of compensation an accident victim may recover when filing a claim or lawsuit can be reduced by their percentage of fault. If you contributed to your accident by practicing unsafe bicycling behaviors, you might be entitled to less compensation. This is just one more reason understanding and obeying South Carolina’s bike laws is essential.