Texas Launches Motorcycle Safety Campaign: Look Twice, Save Lives

Riding a motorcycle during a vibrant sunset.

A motorcycle is more than just a vehicle; it carries a person with family and friends. Sadly, motorists often don’t think about this, and it shows in the staggering motorcyclist death rate. In 2023, nearly 600 motorcyclists in Texas lost their lives, and over 2,400 were severely injured in crashes. These aren’t just numbers; they represent individual lives and the wide-reaching impact on families and communities across the state.

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Motorcycle safety is not just a concern for riders but a critical responsibility for all drivers. With the increasing number of motorcycles on the road and a rise in fatalities and serious injuries, it’s clear that we need to make our roads safer for everyone.

The story of Al Peterson, a Leander resident whose life was nearly cut short in a devastating motorcycle crash, highlights the urgent need for increased awareness and precaution among all road users. Taking an extra moment to watch for motorcycles can be the difference between life and death. It’s not just good road sense—it’s a duty to our fellow human beings.

In May of 2023, Peterson was riding his motorcycle when a car abruptly turned left in front of him. Peterson was hit and thrown 20 yards from his motorcycle and landed with enough force to fracture several ribs, his left leg, and pelvis, along with suffering severe internal injuries.

“…Turns out they didn’t see me. By the time they pulled out in front of me I didn’t have any time to react in any way… I was thrown over the vehicle,” Peterson said, per News Channel 6. “The vehicle [was] parked on top of my leg and was parked there until first responders could come pick the vehicle off my leg.”

The crash not only left Peterson fighting for his life in the hospital but also sent shockwaves through his family. His wife and three children faced the very real possibility of life without him. Peterson’s long road to recovery included multiple surgeries and months of physical therapy. Even now, he continues to deal with the repercussions of the motorcycle accident, both physically and emotionally.

Risks bikers face on Texas roads

Motorcycles present unique challenges on the road due to their smaller size and different dynamics compared to larger vehicles. Motorcycles are harder to spot and can be more difficult for drivers to accurately judge in terms of distance and speed. They can easily fit into the blind spots of other vehicles, particularly large trucks and SUVs. If a driver fails to double-check these blind spots before changing lanes or turning, it significantly increases the risk of collision.

Other common risks motorcyclists face on Texas roads include:

  • Left turns at intersections
  • Sudden lane changes
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Car doors opening
  • Speeding and aggressive driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to yield the right of way

How can Texas drivers help prevent motorcycle accidents?

In response to the alarming rate of motorcycle deaths, TxDOT has launched the safety initiative “Look Twice, Save Lives.” This initiative aims to educate motor vehicle drivers about the dangers motorcyclists face and what they can do to prevent motorcycle accidents. Here are some tips for drivers:

  • Before changing lanes or making turns, check blind spots carefully.
  • Maintain a safe following distance.
  • Use turn signals to give motorcyclists time to react.
  • Look twice at intersections before proceeding, especially when making left turns.
  • Avoid distractions such as texting or adjusting the radio while driving.
  • Allow motorcyclists a full lane width; don’t attempt to share the lane with or squeeze past them.
  • Be patient, as motorcycles may travel at different speeds than cars.

Safety tips for motorcyclists

Motorcyclists can take several measures to enhance their safety on the road:

  • Wear protective gear such as a helmet, gloves, boots, and jackets with armor.
  • Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing to increase visibility, especially during low-light conditions.
  • Use headlights, turn signals, and brake lights to make your intentions clear to other road users.
  • Scan the road for potential hazards, including other vehicles, pedestrians, road debris, and animals.
  • Anticipate the actions of other drivers and be prepared to react to sudden changes in traffic flow.
  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles to allow for adequate reaction time and braking distance.
  • Avoid riding beyond your abilities, especially in challenging road or weather conditions.
  • Approach intersections cautiously, slow down, and be prepared to yield if necessary.
  • Be mindful of road hazards such as potholes, gravel, oil slicks, and uneven pavement.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain your motorcycle to ensure it’s in good working condition.

The truth about motorcycle wrecks

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car drivers are often found responsible for the majority of motorcycle accidents and fatalities. Furthermore, the National Safety Council reports that 60% of fatal motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle, with the car driver typically being at fault in these instances. In other words, the data shows that motorists in bigger vehicles have a greater responsibility to prevent motorcycle wrecks.

Get a Texas motorcycle accident lawyer who can help you build a strong case

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Texas that was not your fault, the attorneys at Smith & Hassler are here to protect your rights and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. With over 30 years of experience helping injured motorcyclists in Houston, we take pride in advocating for bikers’ rights and holding negligent drivers accountable. To learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case, contact us today for a free, no-obligation case consultation.