Having completed their fourth Texas Motorcycle Safety Forum, Center for Transportation Safety (CTS) Director John Mounce and Associate Research Scientist Patricia Turner can look back and feel a sense of accomplishment. But they know their work is far from over.
Past forums have produced some major initiatives including the creation of the Texas Motorcycle Safety Coalition and the Texas Education Agency’s work to incorporate motorcycle awareness into driver education courses.
The goal of the forum is to identify ways to reduce the rate of motorcyclist fatalities and injuries, and statistics show that much work remains to be done. Preliminary figures for 2008 show a whopping 32 percent increase in fatalities in Texas over the year before. “Motorcycle deaths have risen more than 75 percent across the country since 2000,” says Mounce. “They account for a disproportionate number of all traffic deaths based on VMT [vehicle miles traveled], so our efforts are extremely important.”
More than 100 people gathered at the Fourth Annual Texas Motorcycle Safety Forum in Austin on February 12, including researchers, safety groups, riders, instructors, law enforcement and government agencies, to share information on crash statistics, motorcycle awareness initiatives, bystander assistance programs and legislative issues affecting motorcyclists. The annual event is co-sponsored by the Texas Transportation Institute, the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“We are all working together to increase motorcycle safety in Texas,” Turner said. “The statewide public awareness campaign, Look. Learn. Live, is an excellent example of how agencies have come together to make motorcycle safety a priority in Texas.”