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Motorcycle awareness and road safety, part 2

Motorcycle crashes are almost invariably serious. Unlike car or truck drivers, motorcycle riders are not protected by their own vehicles when they crash. As a result, the risks of catastrophic injuries are very real, as are the risks of motorcycle fatalities.

That is why it is so important to raise awareness of motorcyclists among motorists about the causes of accidents, so that all drivers can share the road more safety. As we discussed on May 7 in part one of this post, the TXDOT is coordinating an initiative to do just that. This is happening in conjunction with National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

The need for improved safety awareness is borne out by the data. In Texas, 460 people lost their lives in motorcycle or scooter accidents in 2012. That is more than one per day.

It’s true that the number of these accidents was fewer than the year before. In 2011, there were 488 people who died in motorcycle or scooter accident. But 460 deaths are still far too many.

Of course, not all of these fatal motorcycle crashes involved other vehicles. According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, another vehicle was involved in about half of motorcycle or scooter deaths.

But the Texas A&M data also contains a very telling fact about fatal vehicle-motorcycle crashes. In more than two-thirds of these crashes, the car or truck hit the front of the motorcycle while making a left turn — typically at an intersection.

This disturbing statistic suggests that many drivers are not doing a good enough job at looking out for motorcycles. In short, for more motorcyclists to live, motorists have to learn to look more closely.

Source: In Texas, Most Motorcycle Crashes Happen in May,” Texas A&M Transportation Institute, 5-7-13

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