In preparation for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month which began May 1, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has launched a statewide Share the Road motorcycle safety and public awareness campaign (www.looklearnlive.org) to urge motorists to look twice for motorcycles at intersections and when changing lanes, the two places where serious motorcycle collisions commonly occur.
Motorcyclists are dying in record numbers. In 2009, 434 motorcyclists were killed, accounting for 14 percent of the state’s traffic deaths. Researchers point to the fact that the number of motorcycles on Texas roadways has more than doubled to 424,218 in the last decade. Because motorcycles have a much smaller profile than other vehicles, it can be difficult for drivers to judge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle. As a result, drivers involved in crashes with motorcycles say they never saw the motorcyclist and were unable to react in time to prevent the crash.
“We know that 66 percent of motorcycle crashes result in death or serious injury for the motorcyclist,” said Carol Rawson, TxDOT’s Traffic Operations Director. “As more and more people turn to motorcycles for affordable transportation and recreation, it’s more important than ever to remind drivers to look twice for motorcycles.”
“Seeing them is saving them” is the theme of TxDOT’s new campaign, which uses TV and radio commercials and billboards to drive home the new safety message. TxDOT offers these tips on how to better see and accommodate motorcyclists on the road:
Do a Double Take: Look twice for motorcyclists at intersections, where they may be making a left turn, as well as on the highway, where a motorcyclist may be changing lanes. Clearly signal your intentions.
Be Respectful: Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any vehicle on the roadway.
Give Them Space: Don't follow a motorcycle too closely. A motorcyclist's riding patterns are different from vehicle patterns, and reactions may vary for the same road or weather conditions. Allow a full lane of travel space between your car or truck and a motorcycle.
Anticipate Next Steps: Obstructions that you do not notice could prove to be deadly for a motorcyclist. Give motorcyclists plenty of space to react and make the road a safe place for you and others, no matter what form of transportation they use.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining nearly 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its approximately 12,000 employees strive to empower local leaders to solve local transportation problems, and to use new financial tools, including tolling and public-private partnerships, to reduce congestion and pave the way for future economic growth while enhancing safety, improving air quality, and preserving the value of the state's transportation assets. Find out more at www.txdot.gov. Fan them on Facebook www.facebook.com/txdot. Follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/txdot.