TxDOT launches motorcycle safety campaign to save lives and prevent accidents

AUSTIN – Despite less traffic on the road in 2020 and a 2% reduction in motorcycle crashes, safety officials are alarmed by a 17% increase in motorcycle fatalities in Texas compared to 2019. On average , a motorcyclist is killed in an accident on the roads of Texas every day — last year, 482 people died. Motorcyclists account for 12% of all traffic fatalities statewide.

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and the Texas Department of Transportation’s annual “Share the Road: Watch twice for Motorcycles” campaign launches to draw attention to safety precautions that motorists can take to protect motorcyclists and themselves. In 2020, in the 7,481 motorcycle accidents in Texas, 1,856 motorcyclists were seriously injured and 482 were killed.

“May through October is a particularly dangerous time for motorcyclists in Texas,” said James Bass, executive director of TxDOT. “Of all motorcycle fatalities in Texas in 2020, over 61% occurred during that time period. It is so important to remember that these motorcyclists do not have the same protections as vehicle operators, and that is why we urge all motorists to remain vigilant and alert when traveling alongside motorcycles so that all world can reach their destination safely.

The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) reports that fatal motorcycle-driver crashes often occur when drivers misjudge the distance and speed of the motorcycle and turn left in front of an oncoming motorcyclist. Nearly a third of motorcycle fatalities in Texas last year occurred at or were intersection-related. TTI also points out that driver inattention is a contributing factor in motorcycle crashes.

TxDOT offers these driver safety tips to protect motorcyclists and prevent accidents:

• Be very careful when making a left turn. It is safer to let the motorcycle pass to avoid turning in front of the rider.

• Pay special attention at intersections. Nearly one in three motorcycle deaths occur at a road intersection.

• Give your full attention to driving. Even a momentary distraction, like answering a phone call or changing radio stations, can have fatal consequences.

• Watch twice when changing lanes. Check mirrors, blind spots and always use turn signals.

• Leave room for motorcyclists when they pass them. Move to the passing lane and do not encumber the entire lane reserved for motorcyclists.

• Stay behind. If you are behind a motorcycle, always maintain a safe safety distance. When a motorcyclist is downshifting instead of applying the brake to slow down, it can catch riders off guard because there are no brake lights to signal a reduced speed.

• To slow down. Obey posted speed limits and drive under conditions.

The “Share the Road: Look twice for Motorcycles” campaign is a key part of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages riders to make safer choices behind the wheel, like wearing a seat belt, driving the speed limit, never texting, and driving and never driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. November 7, 2000 was the last day without death on the roads of Texas. #EndTheStreakTX is calling on all Texans to make a commitment to driving safely to help end the series of daily fatalities on Texas roads.

Copyright 2021 TxDOT. All rights reserved.

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