While many motorcyclists will be celebrating International "Ride To Work Day" by riding their motorcycles to work on Friday, June 21st, there are 10 riders who will not be participating this year. According to the latest statistics, there have been 10 motorcycle fatalities in Abilene and the Big Country District.

The international event known as "Ride To Work Day" brings attention to the importance of sharing the road. I recently spoke with my friend, Sergeant Mark Couch, the Public Information Trooper for the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS). He highlighted the increase in motorcycle crashes in our area.

From January 1st, 2024, until June 12th, 2024, there has been a serious increase in motorcycle fatal crashes in the Abilene district alone. This number of fatalities is up from the same period last year.

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Tragically, nearly 600 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes across Texas last year, with over 2,400 riders suffering injuries, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). These alarming statistics highlight the critical importance of road safety for all road users, especially motorcyclists.

Closer to home, Abilene and Taylor County have been experiencing serious fatal motorcycle crashes. During the pandemic, the number of fatal crashes dropped significantly; however, in 2022 alone, the total number of fatal motorcycle crashes was at an all-time high at 23 fatal crashes.

We are not even two weeks into the “100 Deadliest Days,” which begins on Memorial Day and goes until Labor Day. I believe that two things must happen to lower these numbers.

First, motorcyclists should choose to wear helmets, as nearly half of all fatal bike crashes involve non-helmet-wearing individuals. Second, and most importantly, ALL DRIVERS need to pay better attention to bikers and give them the space they deserve. I always say, "Drive with respect, always!"

To help prevent crashes TxDOT says:

  • Check yourself. Always remind yourself to keep an eye out for any motorcycles nearby. This will help your eyes and brain notice motorcycles on the road.
  • Look twice. Use turn signals and check blind spots before changing lanes.
  • Turning left? Avoid turning in front of an oncoming motorcycle. It can be hard to judge their speed and distance, so let them pass first and always use your turn signal to alert them.
  • Pay special attention at intersections. More than a third of all motorcycle fatalities happen at roadway intersections.
  • Make some space. Keep a safe following distance. Motorcyclists can reduce their speed by downshifting, which doesn’t activate the brake light. Treat motorcycles like cars by giving them a full lane when driving or passing.
  • Slow down. Obey posted speed limits and drive according to conditions.
  • Stay alert. Give driving your full attention. Even a momentary distraction can have deadly consequences.

10 Tips to Allow Cars and Motorcycles to Safely Coexist

It's possible for cars, trucks, and motorcycles to safely share the road, but it takes mindfulness and cooperation on everyone's part. Remember these 10 tips before heading out on your next journey.

Gallery Credit: Cindy Campbell

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