EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A report released this week paints a stark picture of motorcyclists on Texas roadways. Last year, 412 motorcyclists died and 1,812 were seriously injured on Texas roads.
The highest number of fatal motorcycle crashes happened in El Paso, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, Lubbock and Odessa.
The Texas Department of Transportation says 61 percent of motorcycle fatalities happen between May through October each year. That’s why the department’s annual “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign kicks off this month.
The annual campaign aims to alert drivers to the unique risks facing motorcyclists and suggests safety precautions motorists can take to protect motorcyclists and themselves.
Safety experts say that crashes between motorcyclists and drivers often occur when drivers make left turns in front of an oncoming motorcyclist, misjudging the distance and speed of the motorcycle. Last year, 30 percent of Texas motorcycle fatalities occurred in an intersection or were intersection-related.
TxDOT wants drivers to follow these safety tips to prevent vehicle/motorcycle crashes:
- Take extra care when making a left turn. It’s easy to misjudge the speed and proximity of an oncoming motorcycle. It’s safest to let the motorcycle pass to avoid turning in front of the rider.
- Pay special attention at intersections. Close to one-third of motorcycle fatalities happen at roadway intersections.
- Give driving your full attention. Even a momentary distraction, such as answering a phone call or changing the radio station, can have deadly consequences.
- Look twice when changing lanes. Check mirrors, check blind spots, and always use turn signals.
- Give motorcyclists room when passing them. Move over to the passing lane and don’t crowd the motorcyclist’s full lane.
- Stay back. If you are behind a motorcycle, always maintain a safe following distance. When a motorcyclist downshifts instead of applying the brake to slow down, it can catch drivers off guard since there are no brake lights to signal that they are reducing their speed.
- Slow down. As always, please obey the posted speed limit.