Amarillo Drivers: Remember To Look Twice For Motorcycles
There's nothing worse than seeing a wreck. I was out and about having lunch today and like any other day here in Bomb City. Then I saw an ambulance racing down Coulter St., along with a fire truck,
No biggie, right? BSA is right down the street, I figured someone was getting rushed to the hospital. If only it were as simple as that.
As I turned out of the parking lot, I saw that traffic on Coulter street was reduced to one lane each way--and for very good reason. There had just been a major wreck at 34th & Coulter intersection and the road was blocked off.
The collision was a vehicle/motorcycle one and a nasty one at that. It's a scary moment whenever motorcycles are involved. The freedom and open air nature of the bike that riders love just don't hold up well when faced against thousands of pounds of steel at at any speed. Last I heard, the driver of the motorcycle is receiving medical care, keep him in your thoughts.
Back to Driver's Ed:
What makes these so scary is that the outcome for the rider is rarely good. But in this case, it looks like the rider had a helmet. But how many times have you seen someone without a helmet riding a motorcycle around town and on the road? Further, if a person is over the age of 21, they are not required by Texas law to wear a helmet.
Motorcycles present a special challenge for drivers, only 3% of vehicles registered are Motorcycles and they only account for .6% of all miles traveled by American motorists. They are hard to see and can easily hide in a car's blind spot. It's much harder to anticipate a motorcyclists' actions as their bike affords them more maneuverability on the road. In fact, of all non-alcohol related motorcycle accidents and fatalities, the driver of the vehicle is at fault, usually due to distraction or not yielding the right of way.
NHTSA has issued statements on this before "When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist's right of way, There is a continuing need to help other motorists 'think' motorcycles and to educate motorcyclists to be aware of this problem."
It's a matter of looking twice
Here in Texas the 2019 numbers aren't so nice to look at 412 riders lost their lives and just over 1800 had serious injuries that required long term care and management.
TXDOT offers a few tips for sharing our roads with Motorcycles
- 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 your turn signals and check your blind spot before changing lanes.
- Don’t follow a motorcycle too closely.
- Give motorcyclists a full lane.
- Obey posted speed limits.
The big thing, Keep that eye open. Drive safe