DPS asks motorists to stay alert, use caution around motorcyclists

DPS press release

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding drivers to use extra caution around motorcycles on roadways as part of Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month in May.

“Every driver has a fundamental responsibility to help keep our roadways safe for all travelers and DPS is calling on motorists to be cognizant of motorcycles while on the road by always looking twice,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Motorcyclists inherently are more vulnerable, so we also encourage individuals on motorcycles to always wear helmets and other protective gear to better guard against potential injuries.”

DPS recommends all drivers “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles,” which is the Texas Department of Transportation’s public awareness campaign highlighting motorcycle safety.

In 2015, 455 people died on Texas roadways while riding motorcycles and scooters, which represents approximately 13 percent of all fatalities for the year. In many cases, these fatalities were the result of crashes between a motorcycle and a car or truck. Motorists should use extra caution especially at intersections and when changing lanes – two common places where serious motorcycle collisions occur.

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 can also take a refresher course to reinforce safe riding techniques. Each year the DPS Motorcycle Safety Unit trains about 38,000 motorcycle operators.

The Motorcycle Safety Unit coordinates training courses at more than 200 locations around the state for both basic and experienced riders. For more information on motorcycle training or to find a training location in your area, please call 800-292-5787 or visit dps.texas.gov/msb/.

Drivers and motorcyclists can significantly reduce their chances of being involved in a serious or fatal crash by adhering to basic safety measures, including:

  • Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Allow more following distance – three or four sec­onds – when behind a motorcycle, so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emer­gency.
  • Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
  • Never drive while distracted.