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Agriculture Today

Motorcycle safety campaign

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April 18, 2012 | 4,199 views | Post a comment

AUSTIN -- Motorcyclists are dying at alarming rates, so the Texas Department of Transportation, TxDOT, is asking motorists to pay closer attention to the growing number of Texans riding scooters and motorcycles on the roads and highways.

TxDOT’s Share the Road motorcycle safety and public awareness campaign runs through mid-May, and is designed to remind drivers to look twice for motorcycles, especially at intersections and when changing lanes, where most of the collisions take place.

In 2011, Texas had 470 motorcycle fatalities, 16 percent of the state’s traffic deaths. “Seeing them is saving them” is the theme of this year’s Share the Road campaign, which uses radio and television public- service announcements and outdoor billboards, both in English and Spanish, to drive its safety message home.

Half of all fatal motorcycle crashes in Texas occur because the motorist never saw the motorcyclist. According to national statistics, a motorcyclist is five times more likely to be injured and 25 times more likely to die in a crash. In fact, 87 percent of motorcycle crashes result in the death or serious injury of the motorcyclist. This is because motorcycles have a much smaller profile than other vehicles, and it can be difficult for car and truck drivers to judge the speed and distance of an approaching bike. As a result, drivers involved in crashes with motorcycles often say they never saw the motorcyclist and could not react in time to prevent the crash.

TxDOT offers these safety tips for sharing the road with motorcycles:

•Look twice: Especially watch for cyclists at intersections where they may be making a left turn, as well as on the highway where a motorcyclist may be changing lanes. Regularly check your rear-view and side-view mirrors and clearly signal your intentions.

•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 drivers do not notice could prove to be deadly for a motorcyclist. Give motorcyclists plenty of space to react. This will help to make the road a safe place for you and others, no matter what form of transportation is used.

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