According to the Texas Department of Transportation, on average, one motorcyclist dies on Texas roads. In 2018, 920 motorcyclists sustained serious injuries in collisions, while 417 lost their lives. In more than half of all motorcycle accidents, another car is involved. The reason many drivers cite for the incident is, they simply do not see the motorcycle. Lack of visibility due to congestion, distracted driving and the small frame of motorcycles gave way to Texas’s “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign.
The campaign has led to a drastic reduction in preventable motorcycle fatalities each year. Even, with months of good weather up ahead, it is always a good idea of drivers to brush up on tips for sharing the roads safely with motorcycles.
First and foremost, drivers should always look twice for motorcycles, especially at intersections. When changing lanes or turning, drivers should check their blind spots and use their turn signals. If a driver sees a motorcycle approaching in the rearview mirror, he or she should always assume it is closer than it appears.
Drivers should give motorcyclists a full lane, as they would to any other vehicle. They should maintain a safe distance between themselves and leading motorcycles, and follow posted speed limits.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed model language for states to use in their driver’s manuals, safety education courses and driver training materials regarding sharing the road safely with motorcyclists. Though Texas adopted some of the language in its campaign, there are a few tips worth mentioning that the campaign does not.
The NHTSA encourages all drivers to remember that motorcycles are vehicles and, as such, operators enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other driver on the road. It also informs drivers that turn signals on motorcycles are often not self-canceling, so a driver should wait to see an operator’s actual intent before proceeding.
Finally, road conditions that seem minor when in a standard vehicle may pose significant hazards to motorcyclists. Motorcyclists may need to adjust their speed or change positions to react accordingly to hazards along the road, including gravel, potholes, wet payment, railroad crossings, pavement seams and grooved pavement.