May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
HARLINGEN – Two years ago, Harley Garcia became a victim of a motorcycle accident that nearly sent him to the hospital emergency room.
“I've been sideswiped by a vehicle before,” Garcia said. “It was caused by a person not paying attention, I guess the driver of the car wasn't looking for a smaller vehicle.”
While Garcia survived his accident, on average, a motorcyclist dies every day in a crash on Texas roads. As a result, over a hundred motorcycle enthusiasts gathered in Harlingen to take part in the annual National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May event held Saturday, May 5 in Harlingen. The Texas Department of Transportation is urging automobile drivers to “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles.”
April to June and September to October are the months in Texas when the most motorcycle crashes due to inattentive car drivers take place. It’s a time when motorcyclists are enjoying the mild spring and autumn weather.
Motorcyclists filled the streets of western Harlingen with their American and Texas flags flying in the midday breeze. They gathered at the state Texas Travel Center, 2021 W. Harrison Ave. They shook hands, greeted each other and caught up on the latest biker news.
McAllen resident Julie Canon was at the event and said she hopes cars would watch out for her while on her motorcycle. She has seen people on their cell phones and putting on their make up.
“This (event) needs to be done all the time,” Canon said. “Especially with distracted drivers, it's something that is an ongoing deal.”
Harlingen Mayor, Chris Boswell told the crowd he fully supports the city’s motorcycle drivers and their campaign to prevent motorcycle/automobile accidents. Boswell says the key to preventing injuries is teaching the rules of the road to future drivers.
“Get out and teach young people, especially teenagers about this issue,” the mayor said. “All the important life lessons you learned, happened when you were a teenager. If you didn’t learn to be considerate to other people when you were young, you are probably not going to be considerate to other people later in life. This is something that young people really need to pay attention to.”
TxDot Traffic Safety Specialist, Ruby Martinez, says the goal of the safety campaign it to remind drivers to “look twice.” According to Martinez, funding for the National Motorcycle Safety Awareness campaign is provided by the federal and state government.
Last year, 8,726 crashes killed 501 motorcyclists and seriously injured another 2,101 across the state.
TxDOT is asking drivers to safely share the road with motorcyclists by following a few tips.
· Look twice for motorcycles, especially at intersections.
· Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear to be, and avoid turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
· Use turn signals and check blind spots before changing lanes.
· Avoid following a motorcycle too closely.
· Give motorcyclists a full lane.
· Obey posted speed limits.