In 2008, the DPS Motorcycle Operator Training Program trained a record-number 41,000 motorcycle operators, up from 33,697 in 2007. But all that training isn’t enough to ensure the safety of motorcycle operators. Drivers of other vehicles, who share Texas roadways with 908,665 licensed motorcyclists, must make a conscious effort to look for motorcyclists.
Almost 400 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2007; preliminary fatality reports for 2008 also indicate an increase in fatalities. A high percentage of those crashes involved other vehicles. Most motorcycle crashes occur near intersections, largely because inattentive vehicle drivers fail to see the motorcyclist and give them the right-of way.
“Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots such as the door or roof pillars, or masked by objects or backgrounds outside a car such as bushes, fences and bridges,” said John G. Young, coordinator of the DPS Motorcycle Safety Unit. “Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.”
To address the increase of car and motorcycle crashes on a local level, some Texas cities such as Arlington have began local public awareness events. The City of Austin has a motorcycle safety fair scheduled for May 9 to increase public awareness and remind drivers to look for motorcycles.
“We encourage all cities to get involved with public awareness for motorcyclist safety,” Young said.
For more information on the Motorcycle Safety Unit, visit
www.txdps.state.tx.us/msb and www.looklearnlive.org or call 1-800-292-5787