The 18th Annual International Motorcycle and Scooter Ride to Work Day may be more popular than ever Monday, June 15, thanks to rising gasoline prices and the growing number of motorcycles on the road. The event urges motorcyclists to ride to work to show that motorcycles are an economical form of personal transportation and are better for the environment thanks to their higher fuel efficiencies.
The number of registered motorcycles continues to grow every year. Unfortunately, the number of fatalities is rising, too. For example, in Texas, the number of motorcycle registrations grew 13 percent compared to a 31 percent rise in motorcycle deaths from 2007 to 2008.
In conjunction with Ride to Work Day, the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is launching the Look Twice for Motorcycles campaign to remind drivers to be more aware of motorcycles on the roadways.
“Fifty percent of all fatal crashes involve a motorcycle and another vehicle,” says Associate Research Scientist Patricia Turner with the Center for Transportation Safety at TTI. “Many of these crashes occur when a vehicle turns left in front of the motorcyclist or hits the motorcycle while it’s passing or overtaking the vehicle.” The most common driver response after the crash is “I never saw the rider.”
The Look Twice for Motorcycles campaign will reach Texas residents in Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio and Austin via billboards, transit bus wraps and radio and television public service announcements (PSAs). The message also incorporates the “Share the Road” decal displayed on TxDOT roadway signs across the state. The campaign runs throughout the summer and includes messages directed at motorists and motorcyclists.
“We want to reach as many people as we can,” explains TxDOT Motorcycle Program Manager, Gonzalo Ponce. “Registered motorcycles are at an all-time high in Texas and we’re reminding drivers to be on the lookout for motorcyclists especially at intersections where many crashes happen,” says Ponce.