Texas amps up motorcycle awareness education

Texas is famous for many things, including leading most other states for the number of drunk driving deaths on their highways. Additionally, it has an extremely large number of motorcycles registered and a very high number of biker deaths.

Consider yet another deadly crash on Highway 69. A biker was heading north, lost control of his motorcycle and hit a guardrail. The highway was shut down for a number of hours while accident scene personnel worked to assess the crash and clear away the debris.

It is not just the fact that motorcyclists are not protected like passengers in a car that makes their accident rate more frequent and deadly. The vice chairman of the biker advocacy group, Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents for Region 4, Willie Mac, said: “We don’t have the reaction time. We don’t have the braking time. We have maneuverability.” However, even with a biker’s maneuverability, serious accidents with catastrophic injuries or death occur all too frequently.

In the last five years in Texas, 2,354 bikers have been killed. Is it the way they drive? Is it other drivers that cause most of the accidents? The answer to the conundrum that plagues safety advocates is that car drivers do not see motorcycles and do not pay close enough attention to the roads. In other words, they do not know how to properly and safely share the road with bikers.

Until motorists take the time to pay attention and drive with due care and caution, collisions will continue to happen. Education is a part of getting drivers to be on the lookout for motorcycles, but it is also like educating people about drinking and driving. People know not to drink and drive, but they do it anyway. People know there are motorcycles on the road, but the do not pay attention.

Riding defensively may be a good start, but if a car turns left in front of a motorcycle, the rider has no place to go but into the side of the car. Be aware. Look with care. Motorcycles are part of traffic on the road and it is a driver’s duty to watch for all traffic.

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