– As motorcycle fatalities continue to rise and the spring weather draws more riders to Texas roadways, TxDOT is urging drivers to look twice and be considerate on the road around motorcycle riders.
In 2022, the number of motorcycle traffic crashes in the Atlanta District totaled 101. These crashes resulted in 4 motorcyclist (operators and passengers) deaths and 24 motorcyclists being seriously injured.
The Atlanta District includes Bowie, Cass, Camp, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Panola, Titus and Upshur Counties.
“Drivers often don’t see oncoming motorcycles, or they misjudge their speed and distance. Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear and avoid turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle. Turning left in front of an oncoming rider can cause a collision, which can be fatal,” said TxDOT Atlanta District Engineer Rebecca Wells.
Amy Jo Miller was enjoying a ride on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle in Bell County when an inattentive driver turned left in front of them, hitting the bike and throwing her across the road. Seconds later, another vehicle then ran her over in a hit-and-run crash, leaving her with multiple serious injuries. Fortunately, she survived, but 15 years later, Amy Jo is still recovering from her injuries.
Amy Jo, now 49, is just one of thousands of Texas motorcyclists seriously injured—or worse, killed—in crashes every year. In 2022, 562 motorcycle riders were killed in motor vehicle crashes, an 8% increase over the previous year.
“People on motorcycles are more vulnerable on our roadways,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “It’s important for drivers to pay extra attention and look out for motorcycles — especially at intersections, when turning in front of oncoming traffic and while changing lanes. We all want to get home safe.”
In addition to National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, TxDOT’s annual safety campaign “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” also aims to protect motorcyclists by educating drivers on how to safely share the road. Below are safety precautions all motorists should keep in mind to help prevent motorcycle crashes:
- Stay alert. Give driving your full attention. Even a momentary distraction, such as answering a phone call or changing the radio station, can have deadly consequences.
- Pay special attention at intersections. One-third of all motorcycle fatalities happen at roadway intersections.
- Take extra care when making a left turn. Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear and avoid turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
- Look twice when changing lanes. Check mirrors, check blind spots, and always use turn signals.
- Give motorcyclists room when passing them. Move over to the passing lane and don’t crowd the motorcyclist’s full lane.
- Stay back. If you’re behind a motorcycle, always maintain a safe following distance. When a motorcyclist downshifts, it can catch drivers off guard since there are no brake lights to signal reduced speed.
- Slow down. Obey posted speed limits and drive according to conditions.
TxDOT’s “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel to help end the streak of daily deaths. Nov. 7, 2000, was the last deathless day on Texas roadways.