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July 31, 2007

Summer Driving Safety Tips for Motorists -- and Motorcyclists

Woman_on_motorcycle_flickr2 Summer is the season of road trips. With millions of drivers expected to travel on Texas highways in the upcoming weeks, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is launching a new campaign to remind motorists to drive at safe speeds and pay particular attention to motorcyclists. While the campaign features a series of radio and television commercials that will be broadcast in the state of Texas, the wisdom they are sharing no matter where you live. Our very own Jody DeVere rides a Harley, so this information strikes home here at AskPatty.com as well.

Safety advocates report that speeding continues to be the leading cause of crashes in Texas, accounting for four in ten crashes. In fact, 360 motorcyclists were killed on Texas roads in 2006.  With the growing popularity of motorcycling, they also remind drivers that riders are especially vulnerable when vehicles and motorcycles collide.

"More than 90 percent of crashes involving motorcycles result in the motorcyclist's death or some level of injury to the motorcyclist," said Carlos Lopez, TxDOT's traffic operations director. "We're reminding drivers to be on the lookout for motorcyclists, especially at intersections where many crashes occur."

Woman_on_motorcycle_flickr Co-sponsoring the effort is the Texas Motorcycle Roadriders Association (TMRA), which educates riders and promotes motorcycle safety in Texas. Together, the Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Motorcycle Roadriders Association have these safety tips for sharing the road with motorists:

    * Always look twice for motorcyclists - at intersections, entering highways, and whenever turning or changing lanes. A Motorcycle's small size often makes them hard to see, and motorcyclists can get lost in your blind spots. Remember: If you're looking for a motorcycle, you certainly can't miss a car, but if you're only looking for cars around you, it's much easier to miss seeing a motorcycle.
    * When passing a motorcyclist, move to the other lane and allow a full lane for the motorcycle. After doing so, avoid reentering the lane too quickly.
    * Always maintain a safe following distance.

By Brandy Schaffels
Contributing Editor

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