DPS Urges Motorists to Use Caution Around Motorcyclists

AUSTIN, April 30, 2015 – As part of Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month in May, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding drivers to use extra caution around motorcycles on roadways.

“Motorcyclists are inherently more vulnerable while on the road because they are less visible, and motorcycles offer no significant protection to their users in the event of a crash,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS urges all motorists to abide by traffic laws and always look twice for motorcycles. Motorcyclists can also help protect themselves by wearing protective gear, including helmets.”

In 2014, 455 people died on Texas roadways while riding motorcycles and scooters, representing a nine percent decrease from the previous year. However, those deaths accounted for approximately 13 percent of all traffic deaths in the state last year.

DPS recommends all drivers “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles,” which is the Texas Department of Transportation’s public awareness campaign highlighting motorcycle safety. Motorists should use caution, especially at intersections and when changing lanes – two common places where serious motorcycle collisions occur.

Motorcyclists must be properly licensed to operate a motorcycle in the State of Texas. Currently, more than 440,000 motorcycles and mopeds are registered in Texas, and that number is expected to grow. Licensed motorcyclists can also take a refresher course to reinforce safe riding techniques. Each year the DPS Motorcycle Safety Unit trains about 42,000 motorcycle operators.

The Motorcycle Safety Unit coordinates training courses at more than 200 locations around the state for both basic and experienced riders. For more information on motorcycle training or to find a training location in your area, please call 1-800-292-5787 or visit www.dps.texas.gov/msb/.

Drivers and motorcyclists can significantly reduce their chances of being involved in a serious or fatal crash by adhering to basic safety measures, including:

Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
Allow more following distance – three or four sec¬onds – when behind a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emer¬gency.
Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
Never drive while distracted.

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