The Texas Department of Public Safety and partners at the Texas Department of Transportation remind motorists during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month to share the road and look twice for motorcycles, especially at intersections, where motorcycle crashes often occur.
Motorcycles and their operators are more exposed than other vehicles on the highway. They can easily be overlooked due to their size, which makes motorcyclists inherently more vulnerable while on the road.
Though motorcycle riders have many of the same duties as drivers, they face several unique challenges. Motorcyclists may have to quickly slow down for road hazards, bumps or other obstacles that threaten a rider’s safety. A vehicle traveling too close to a motorcycle in these circumstances significantly increases the risk of a collision.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were more than 7,500 motorcycle crashes reported in 2019, with 406 crashes resulting in a fatality. Of the fatal crashes, approximately 46% of those killed were not wearing a helmet. On average, a motorcyclist is involved in a fatal crash every day on Texas roads.
By following these basic safety measures, drivers and motorcyclists can substantially reduce their chances of being involved in a serious or fatal crash:
■ Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic and at intersections.
■ Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear to be.
■ Use turn signals before changing lanes or when preparing to turn.
■ Don’t follow a motorcycle too closely. In many situations a motorcycle can stop quicker than other vehicles.
■ Wear protective gear when riding on a motorcycle.
■ Never drive or ride while distracted.
■ Don’t drink and drive when operating a motorcycle or any vehicle.
■ Obey posted speed limits.
Motorcyclists must be properly licensed to operate a motorcycle in the State of Texas. Currently, more than 1.1 million individuals possess a Texas Class M (motorcycle) license. Proof of successful completion of a DPS-approved basic or intermediate motorcycle operator training course is required for licensing. Licensed motorcyclists may also take a refresher course to reinforce safe riding techniques.
Last year the DPS Motorcycle Safety Unit trained approximately 33,000 motorcycle operators.
The Motorcycle Safety Unit coordinates training courses at 250 locations around the state for both basic and experienced riders. For more information on motorcycle training or to find a training location, call (800) 292-5787 or visit Motorcycle/ATV Safety Unit.
In Texas, motorcyclists age 21 and older may ride without a helmet only if they have completed a safety course or are covered by an applicable insurance plan. All operators and passengers under the age of 21 are required to wear a helmet.