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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A rise in the number of motorcycle deaths in Texas last year inspired the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to kick off the new “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” awareness campaign.
TxDOT spokesperson Diann Hodges said the goal of the campaign is to make drivers more aware of motorcycles on streets and highways. “Unfortunately last year we saw a six-percent jump in the number of fatalities. Statewide we had nearly 500.”
Some believe a contributing factor to the increase could be that for years the state budget was being subsidized with other funds. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) spokesperson Kenneth Copeland explained, “There was a time that money allocated by the State Legislature was not actually going toward motorcycle safety.”
Now the monies are being used for what they were intended and Hodges said the funds are needed now more than ever. “Between [the year] 2000 and 2014 we saw the number of motorcycle registrations more than double. We now have close to 500,000 registered motorcycles.”
During the Look Twice for Motorcycles campaign kickoff in Austin Lupita Velasquez told the crowd if a driver had taken that advice her son might sill be alive. “He didn’t give my son two seconds — he took off. Not only did he hit him, he killed him on the spot.”
Statistically, motorcyclists are nearly five times more likely to be injured and 29 times more likely to be killed in a crash than people traveling in a car or truck.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and TxDOT is hoping drivers will heed the advice of the new campaign and watch closely for motorcycles, especially at intersections and when changing lanes.
Other steps drivers can take to prevent crashes are to:
- Always use turn signals.
- Give motorcycles plenty of space and don’t follow too closely.
- Check mirrors before changing lanes.
- Give motorcyclists a full lane.