GREENVILLE — The Department of Public Safety says the number of traffic deaths is rising in South Carolina after three years of declines.

The Greenville News reported Monday (http://bit.ly/nWM5uV) that the agency reports 581 people died on the state’s roads between Jan. 1 and Sept. 15. That’s up from 561 deaths for the same period last year.

Officials say there’s been an increase in pedestrian deaths and motorcycle deaths. There have been 70 pedestrian deaths this year, compared with 55 at the same time in 2010. Motorcycle deaths have increased from 62 to 77.

Highway Patrol Lt. Col. Mike Oliver says higher gas prices and good weather may have increased the number of pedestrians and motorcycle riders. Oliver says he hopes the number of deaths will decline in the fall and winter.