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Motorcyclists and drivers to share the roads safely

Photo: Shutterstock

As summer reaches its mid-point and the height of the summer driving season, AAA Texas wants to prevent fatalities and injuries as a result of motorcycle collisions. In Texas 496 motorcyclists were killed in 2016, which is a 6.9 percent increase from 2015. In more than half of the fatal crashes in our state, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) statistics indicate that the motorcyclists were not wearing helmets. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,976 people died in motorcycle crashes across the U.S. in 2015, which was up 8.3 percent from the 4,594 people killed in 2014.

States across the nation are working to decrease the number of motorcycle-related deaths and injuries by encouraging helmet use. A law requiring motorcycle riders 20-years old and younger to wear a helmet is in place in Texas. Other measures that states are taking to reduce motorcycle-related deaths and injuries include training police to identify impaired motorcyclists and increasing high-visibility drunk driving enforcement, enforcing speed limits, making rider training more accessible, and educating drivers about sharing the road with motorcyclists.

“More motorcycles are sharing the roads with cars and trucks, so everyone should be watchful,” said AAA Texas Representative Daniel Armbruster. “People on motorcycles and in vehicles should stay alert, obey speed limits, never drive impaired and be courteous when behind the wheel.”

Motorcyclists:

  • Keep headlights on at all times. Wear bright clothing or reflective strips to improve others’ ability to see you.
  • Before passing, stay four seconds behind a vehicle, check oncoming traffic from the left side of lane, signal intention to turn, and then check for oncoming traffic before passing.
  • When completing a pass, check rearview mirror and quickly turn head to ensure vehicle is a safe distance behind
  • Wear helmets that meet a high protection standard.
  • Wear proper clothing, eyewear and sturdy, closed-toe footwear.
  • Always assume people in cars do not see you.
  • Avoid riding in blind spots of other vehicles, particularly large trucks.
  • Adjust riding for poor weather or road conditions by reducing speed and choosing the safest path.

Drivers:

  • Be extra cautious on weekends, when more motorcyclists are on the roads.
  • Provide motorcyclists adequate room to maneuver. Follow at least four seconds behind them.
  • Allow extra maneuvering room in areas with potholes, pavement changes and railroad crossings. Motorcyclists may need to slow down, stop or adjust their lane position.
  • When a motorcycle is nearby, check your mirrors before changing lanes. Motorcycles may be in your blind spots or difficult to see because of their smaller size.
  • Use extra caution in intersections. Most crashes occur when a driver fails to see a motorcycle and turns left in front of it.
  • Avoid distractions. Motorcycles are small and easily missed by a distracted driver.
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