AUSTIN -- In an effort to reverse a 5-percent year-over-year increase in motorcycle crash fatalities, the Texas Department of Transportation is launching its month-long “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign. Starting May 1, the campaign will coincide with the first day of national Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
“Drivers who hit motorcyclists often say they never saw them,” said John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director. “Our roads in Texas are crowded, so we all have to stay alert and be on the lookout for motorcyclists. For those driving cars and trucks, we urge you to check your mirrors, leaving extra room and use turn signals in order to prevent crashes and save lives.”
In Texas last year, crashes killed 494 motorcyclists. That is up from 470 motorcycle-related deaths in 2012. Because 4,339 motorcycle crashes in Texas last year involved at least one other vehicle, TxDOT is asking drivers to look twice, leave plenty of space and use signals before making lane changes. About one-third of these deadly crashes happen at intersections where cars and motorcycles meet.
To help raise awareness, TxDOT is hosting dramatic motorcycle processions across the state featuring the Texas Patriot Guard Riders, who will carry eye-catching, yellow-and-black flags emblazoned with specific safety messages. The volunteer riders usually attach American flags to their motorcycles while taking part in funeral processions for fallen soldiers, law enforcement officers and emergency workers. Additionally, TxDOT has added a new request to drivers – “Look Twice for Motorcycles” and count them. This strategy for saving lives is based on travel games like “Slug Bug.” People who have played Slug Bug still take notice when they see a Volkswagen Beetle on the road. In the same way, counting motorcycles will condition Texans to look out for drivers on two wheels. Kids can play along with a downloadable game sheet.
The “Share the Road” campaign will appear at events around the state, inviting visitors to have their photo taken on a stationary motorcycle in a virtual reality setting. Those who participate can sign a pledge to share the road and look twice for motorcycles, and also earn the chance to win a donated prize such as tickets to local events.