Texas Motorcyclist Deaths Spike In 2020 Despite Less Traffic On Road
May is National Motorcycle Awareness Month and as drivers, we need to be more vigilant and watch for them while we all share the road.
With a reduction in traffic on the road in 2020 because of people staying home because of coronavirus you would think things on the road would be ok. While there was a 2% reduction in motorcycle crashes in 2020, Texas saw a 17% increase in the number of motorcycle fatalities as compared to 2019. Unfortunately a motorcyclist is killed in a crash every day on Texas roads. In 2020 motorcyclists accounted for 12% of all traffic deaths, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
To bring attention to motorcycle awareness and safety, May has been deemed 'National Motorcycle Awareness Month' to bring attention to Texas drivers over the need to protect motorcyclists and themselves. This past week, Townsquare Media East Texas was scheduled to host an event that featured one of our talents from our Abilene market as he makes a trip around Texas to raise scholarship funds for students in band, much like he did last year.
On the first part of his excursion from Lubbock to Lawton, OK / Wichita Falls, TX things were great and then tragedy struck The Ride For Change. While in Lawton on The Ride For Change, Frank Pain (our Abilene talent) was struck by another vehicle while on his bike. This driver was distracted and Frank ended up being pinned to the ground by his bike. Thankfully Frank escaped with some minor injuries, but things could have possibly been worse.
TxDOT's Executive Director James Bass says,
May through October is an especially dangerous period for motorcyclists in Texas. Of all the motorcyclist deaths in Texas during 2020, more than 61% happened in that period. It’s so important to remember that these motorcyclists don’t have the same protections that drivers in vehicles have, and that’s why we’re urging all motorists to stay watchful and alert when traveling alongside motorcycles so everyone can reach their destination safely.
While we are behind the wheel of our vehicle, we need to look twice for motorcycles. Often times it is a bit harder to judge their distance and speed. TxDOT reminds us of these tips for drivers in order to protect motorcyclists and prevent crashes:
- Take extra care when making a left turn. It’s safest to let the motorcycle pass to avoid turning in front of the rider.
- Pay special attention at intersections. Nearly one in three motorcycle fatalities happens at a roadway intersection.
- Give driving your full attention. Even a momentary distraction, such as answering a phone call or changing the radio station, can have deadly consequences.
- Look twice when changing lanes. Check mirrors, check blind spots, and always use turn signals.
- Give motorcyclists room when passing them. Move over to the passing lane and don’t crowd the motorcyclist’s full lane.
- Stay back. If you’re behind a motorcycle, always maintain a safe following distance. When a motorcyclist downshifts instead of applying the brake to slow down, it can catch drivers off guard since there are no brake lights to signal reduced speed.
- Slow down. Obey posted speed limits and drive to conditions.