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May is National Motorcycle Awareness Month, and the Texas Department of Transportation's annual "Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles" is now underway.

It may surprise you, but in 2020, deaths in motorcycle accidents went up. Despite less traffic on the roads last year and even a 2 percent reduction in motorcycle crashes, state officials say there was a 17 percent increase in fatalities compared to 2019. In 2020, there were 7,481 motorcycle crashes in Texas. Out of those accidents, 1,856 motorcyclists were injured and 482 were killed.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 61 percent of motorcycle deaths in the state occur between May and October.

The Texas Transportation Institute reported that fatal crashes between motorcyclists and drivers occur when drivers misjudge the distance and speed and make left turns in front of motorcyclist.

The Texas Department of Transportation issued several safety tips in a press release for drivers to help protect motorcyclists and prevent crashes:

  • Take extra care when making a left turn. It’s safest to let the motorcycle pass to avoid turning in front of the rider.
  • Pay special attention at intersections. Nearly one in three motorcycle fatalities happens at a roadway intersection.
  • Give driving your full attention. Even a momentary distraction, such as answering a phone call or changing the radio station, can have deadly consequences.
  • 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 instead of applying the brake to slow down, it can catch drivers off guard since there are no brake lights to signal reduced speed.
  • Slow down. Obey posted speed limits and drive to conditions.

November 7th, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways, according to TxDOT.

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