As summer driving season shifts into full gear, AAA Texas wants to prevent fatalities and injuries as a result of motorcycle collisions. The latest statistics available from the Department of Transportation indicate 501 motorcyclists were killed in 2017, across Texas. In more than half of the fatal crashes in our state, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) statistics show that the motorcyclists were not wearing helmets. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,172 motorcyclists died in motorcycle crashes across the U.S. in 2017.
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. NHTSA reports that 28 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were driving under the influence of alcohol.
“People on motorcycles and in vehicles should stay alert, obey speed limits and never drive intoxicated or ‘intexticated’,” said Daniel Armbruster, AAA Texas spokesperson. “Drivers should allow motorcycles enough room to maneuver and follow at least four seconds behind them.”
AAA Texas also offers the following tips for riders and drivers:
- 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.
- 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 driving 'intexticated'. Motorcycles are small and easily missed by a distracted driver.
About AAA: AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting www.AAA.com. Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAATexas. Find additional news from AAA Texas in our online newsroom at http://tx-aaa.iprsoftware.com/.