WICHITA COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety want to remind drivers to share the road and look twice for motorcyclists.
In Texas last year, 455 motorcycle riders died in crashes.
Those riding a motorcycle are five times more likely to be injured in a crash than a person in a car or truck.
However, there are some ways riders and drivers can be safe on the streets.
"The common thing you always hear when there is a motorcycle accident is I didn't see them," said Royce Pritchard, the Operation and Marketing Director for Red River Harley-Davidson.
He said that is why TxDot's "Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles" campaign is so important.
"The biggest thing for safety is others being aware that we are on motorcycles, and we are out there," said Pritchard.
Tish Beaver, TxDot Traffic Safety Specialist, said there are ways you can help motorcycle riders be safe.
- Look twice for motorcycles, especially at intersections.
- Use turn signals when changing lanes.
- Check your mirrors before changing lanes.
- Don’t follow a motorcycle too closely.
- Always assume motorcycles are closer than they appear.
Also, remember motorcyclists are vulnerable and do not have seat belts or airbags.
"They're not protected by a steel car or truck, so we definitely need to look twice for them," said Beaver.
Last year in Texas 1,867 motorcyclists were seriously injured.
"We do want motorcyclists to know that they are 26 times more likely to die in a crash if they are not wearing their helmet, so that's why it is so important to get the word out that helmets are very important," said Beaver.
Helmets are a must, but they are only the start.
Pritchard said you want to ride with all the appropriate gear, like jackets, gloves, boots and long pants. He adds you want your clothes to be brightly colored, and proper training is also necessary.
Red River Harley-Davidson offers a Riding Academy Motorcycle Safety Course, a requirement to get your license.
"The class starts out really basic. It does everything from talking about what makes a motorcycle a motorcycle and the things that you need to do to be safe about riding a motorcycle," said Pritchard.
Another way riders can be safe is keeping up with the factory recommended maintenance for their bike.
Make sure to have working signals, lights and the tires are properly inflated with the right amount of tread depth.
About half of the deadly motorcycle crashes result from a collision with a car or truck, and with the summer months approaching, many in Texoma will be hitting the road.
Beaver said drivers need to be aware, undistracted, and put down those cell phones.