AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – They are often in blind spots and seem to come out of nowhere for some drivers, so the Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding drivers to use extra caution around motorcycles on roads and highways.
The special awareness is observed during the month of May.
“Driving requires your utmost attention and focus, whether you’re in a car or on a motorcycle, and it is critical that every driver do their part to help ensure Texas roadways are safe for everyone,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We urge all drivers to use extra caution around motorcyclists. Additionally, in order to better protect themselves on the road, motorcyclists should wear protective gear and always obey all traffic laws.”
DPS recommends that all drivers “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles,” which is a motorcycle safety public awareness campaign launched by our partner agency, the Texas Department of Transportation, the DPS said in a news release Thursday.
Based on the fact that riders are more exposed and can easily be overlooked due to their size, motorcyclists are inherently more vulnerable while on the road.
In 2016, 493 people were killed while riding a motorcycle or scooter, accounting for approximately 13 percent of all crash fatalities for the year, according to the DPS.
In many cases, these fatalities were the result of crashes between a motorcycle and a car or truck. Collisions with a motorcycle commonly occur at intersections and while changing lanes, and all drivers should use extra caution during these situations.
The DPS says drivers and motorcyclists can significantly reduce their chances of being involved in a serious or fatal crash by adhering to basic safety measures, including:
Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
Allow more following distance – three or four seconds – when behind a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
Wear protective gear when driving or riding on a motorcycle.
Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
Never drive while distracted.
Motorcyclists must be properly licensed to operate a motorcycle in the State of Texas. Currently more than one million individuals possess a Texas Class M (motorcycle) license. Proof of successful completion of a DPS-approved basic or intermediate motorcycle operator training course is required for licensing. Licensed motorcyclists can also take a refresher course to reinforce safe riding techniques. Each year the DPS Motorcycle Safety Unit trains approximately 38,000 motorcycle operators.
The Motorcycle Safety Unit coordinates training courses at 203 locations around the state for both basic and experienced riders. For more information on motorcycle training or to find a training location in your area, call 1-800-292-5787 or visit http://www.dps.texas.gov/msb/.