Texas Department of Transportation
Joins State and Federal Partners
to Remind All Drivers
to “Share the Road” with Motorcycles.
May Proclaimed Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Bryan, Texas - Motorcycle riders now account for one out of every ten U.S. road fatalities each year – with motorcyclist deaths from traffic crashes rising each of the last eight years.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,553 motorcyclists lost their lives in fatal highway crashes in 2005. Of those, 56 percent involved another vehicle in addition to the motorcycle in the crash.
That’s why Texas Department of Transportation announced today that they are joining with other federal, state and local highway safety and law enforcement organizations in proclaiming May 2007 as “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.” All motorists are reminded to safely “Share the Road” with motorcycles and to be extra alert when driving to help keep motorcyclists safe.
“With warmer weather here, more motorcycles are back on the roads. Drivers of passenger vehicles need to be extra alert,” said Terri Miller, Traffic Safety Specialist. “Motorcycles are the smallest vehicles on the road so folks in other vehicles need to really look out for them—and to take extra care to safely ‘Share the Road’.”
Motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their smaller size. “It’s crucial that motorists always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.” said Terri Miller.
Terri Miller said that motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than passenger vehicle drivers in the event of a crash. She said that research shows that approximately 80 percent of motorcycle crashes injure or kill a motorcycle rider, while only 20 percent of passenger car crashes injure or kill a driver or passenger in their vehicle. In fact, per vehicle mile traveled in 2005, motorcyclists were 37 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than occupants in passenger vehicles according to NHTSA.
Terri Miller offered several tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:
Ø Remember the motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle on the roadway. Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane;
Ø Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections;
Ø Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic;
Ø Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed;
Ø Remember that road conditions which are minor annoyances to passenger vehicles pose major hazards to motorcyclists;
Ø Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when following a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. And don’t tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
Terri Miller said motorcyclists have responsibilities, too, by following the rules of the roadway, being alert to other drivers, and always wearing protective gear.
“All too often after a crash, the drivers of other vehicles involved say they never saw the motorcyclist and were unable to respond in time,” said Terri Miller. “This is no excuse. Too many lives are being lost. Our message to all drivers is: make this the first year in recent years when motorcycle fatalities do not increase. Do your part by safely ‘Sharing the Road’ with motorcycles.”