As spring weather draws more motorcyclists onto roadways, the risk of fatalities increases. Last year, 417 motorcyclists died and 1,920 were seriously injured 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 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 percent, which is a big step forward; still one death is too many for the Lone Star State,” TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said in a press release announcing the campaign. “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 cautioned drivers to be extra vigilant when approaching, turning or driving through an intersection, as 30 percent 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 that the motorcycle is slowing down. It is important for motorists to allow for extra distance when they are behind motorcycles.
This year’s “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign will conduct the following events featuring virtual reality games designed to educate drivers and motorcyclists about the importance of watching out for each other. Campaign tour stops include El Paso on May 3, Corpus Christi on May 10, Sugar Land on May 11, Austin on May 12, Frisco on May 17, Midland on May 18 and San Antonio on May 19.
The TxDOT campaign 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 death. The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state.
To learn more about the campaign, visit TxDOT’s website.