Every time Texas motorcyclists get out on the roads, they face dangers that vehicle occupants are not exposed to. The state is doing its part to reduce these dangers through a safety campaign to remind drivers to “Share the road: Look twice for motorcycles,” reports Fox 7 Austin News.
The Texas Department of Transportation runs the awareness program each May as part of Motorcycle Awareness Month, and statistics show that it has affected the rate of motorcycle crashes in the state. According to data, motorcycle deaths are down by 17%. Even with that significant reduction, though, there were 417 motorcyclist deaths in 2018. Injury statistics are still high, too, with more than 1,000 motorcyclists sustaining serious injuries this past year.
More than 50% of motorcycle crashes involve a passenger or commercial vehicle, and most of these occur when a driver misjudges the motorcycle speed or distance and makes a left-hand turn in front of the rider.
Why are these crashes so common? According to Road & Track, research shows that it is because a person’s eyes do not always transmit the image of a motorcycle to the brain. The brain creates “shortcuts” rather than cataloging every detail of the world within the range of vision to prevent sensory overload. If the brain does not expect to see a motorcycle because the person is only actively watching for movement the size of a car, the driver literally will not see the motorcycle.
The solution to this is to continue to remind drivers to actively watch for motorcycles. If drivers do this, they are much more likely to register the presence of a motorcycle and avoid causing a catastrophic accident.