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 is a number the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) 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 in May. “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” urges drivers to be extra cautious, since motorcyclists are more difficult to see while on the road and are 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. This is 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 brake lights will not be engaged at times to signal that 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.
- 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.
“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.