Motorcycle deaths across Texas spike in 2020 despite less traffic



AUSTIN (Nexstar)- Despite less traffic on the road in 2020 and a two percent overall reduction in motorcycle crashes, there was a 17% increase in Texas motorcycle fatalities compared to 2019.

The Texas Department of Transportation says on average, a motorcyclist is killed in a crash on Texas roads every day. 

482 motorcyclists died last year.

Here are some local statistics:

  • In 2020, the number of motorcycle traffic crashes in the Odessa District totaled 141. These crashes resulted in 14 motorcyclist (operators and passengers) deaths and 26 motorcyclists being seriously injured.
  • In 2020, the number of motorcycle traffic crashes in the City of Midland totaled 38. These crashes resulted in 1 motorcyclist (operators and passengers) death and 7 motorcyclists being seriously injured.
  • In 2020, the number of motorcycle traffic crashes in the City of Odessa totaled 44. These crashes resulted in 3 motorcyclist (operators and passengers) deaths and 4 motorcyclists being seriously injured.

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and TxDOT’s annual “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles” campaign is underway to call attention to the safety precautions motorists can take to protect motorcyclists and themselves. 

“May through October is an especially dangerous period for motorcyclists in Texas,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “Of all the motorcyclist deaths in Texas during 2020, more than 61% happened in that period. It’s so important to remember that these motorcyclists don’t have the same protections that drivers in vehicles have, and that’s why we’re urging all motorists to stay watchful and alert when traveling alongside motorcycles so everyone can reach their destination safely.”

TxDOT has these safety tips for drivers to 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.

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