As spring weather draws more motorcyclists onto roadways the risk of fatalities increases. Last year 417 motorcyclists died on Texas roadways, an average of more than one fatality a day. It’s a number the Texas Department of Transportation is working to reduce by asking motorists to be extra vigilant.
TxDOT is launching “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” – a campaign supporting National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month this May. “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” urges drivers to be extra cautious, since motorcyclists are more difficult to see and less protected than other motorists.
“Last year motorcycle fatalities were reduced by 17 %, which is a big step forward; still one death is too many for the Lone Star State,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. ”As motorcyclists hit the road to enjoy the open air and beautiful scenery, it’s important that vehicle drivers and motorcyclists remain alert and look out for each other on the road. We want everyone to enjoy what Texas offers and reach their destinations safely,”
One of the most common crashes between motorcyclists and drivers occurs when drivers make left turns at intersections, due to motorists’ difficulty judging the distance and speed of motorcycles. TxDOT cautions drivers to be extra vigilant when approaching, turning, or driving through an intersection, as 30% of Texas motorcycle deaths in 2018 were intersection-related.
A motorcyclist’s “braking” is not always obvious to motorists. Motorcycles decelerate faster than vehicles and motorcyclists can often downshift instead of applying the brake, especially when driving around a curve. This means at times brake lights will not be engaged to signal the motorcycle is slowing down. It is important for motorists to allow for extra distance when they are behind motorcycles.
TxDOT is urging motorists to:
· Look twice for motorcycles, especially at intersections.
· Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear to be, and avoid turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
· Use turn signals and check blind spots before changing lanes.
· Always maintain a safe following distance.
· Give motorcyclists a full lane, especially when passing.
· Obey posted speed limits.
This year’s “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign will conduct the following events around the state featuring virtual reality games designed to educate drivers and motorcyclists about the importance of watching out for each other. Campaign tour stops include:
· May 3 – El Paso
· May 10 – Corpus Christi
· May 11 – Houston (Sugar Land)
· May 12 – Austin
· May 17 – Dallas-Fort Worth (Frisco)
· May 18 – Midland
· May 19 – San Antonio
“Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a larger grassroots effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while on the road. Since November 8, 2000, at least one person has died on Texas roadways every single day, and that’s why #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to helping end the streak of daily deaths on our roadways.
To learn more about the campaign, visit TxDOT’s website.
For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@txdot.gov or (512) 463-8700.
Information contained in this report represents reportable data collected from Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Reports (CR-3) received and processed by the Department as of March 15, 2019.