Highway Patrol talks motorcycle safety following peak year in fa - FOX Carolina 21

Highway Patrol talks motorcycle safety following peak year in fatalities

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Fatal motorcycle wreck in Simpsonville in 2015 (FOX Carolina) Fatal motorcycle wreck in Simpsonville in 2015 (FOX Carolina)

When Tyus and Anita Butler crashed their motorcycle May 7, Coroner Parks Evans said they both were wearing helmets.

Still, Anita Butler, the wife of a pastor and beloved at her church, died. 

Butler's death marks the 39th motorcycle fatality this year on South Carolina roads - well on the way to exceeding last year's record number. 

"Last year in South Carolina we had 136 fatalities involving motorcyclists. That was the highest we've ever had in the history of the state of South Carolina," said Corporal Bill Rhyne of South Carolina Highway Patrol. 

Rhyne also stressed the importance of frequent bike inspection and maintenance.

"Never take for granted that your motorcycle is going to be in proper working order all the time," said Rhyne. "Take time to walk around your bike."

The Butler's crash is still under investigation, but the coroner says a side-stand malfunction may be to blame, causing the bike to overturn. 

Thomas McCord, manager at Touring Sport bike shop in Greenville, says kickstand caused crashes are rare, but some bikes come prepared for them. 

"The current European brands that we sell have kill switches on the side stands," McCord said.  "If they forget to put it up when they go to engage it to put it in gear, it automatically kills the engine ...They won't be able to go anywhere."

Statistics about recent highway motorcycle deaths are alarming. 

Highway patrol says 62 per cent of last year's crashes were the fault of the riders, and 76 per cent of those killed were not wearing a helmet. 

Rhyne said he is preparing a series of talks about motorcycle safety to be shared with the community later this year. 

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