Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - Thursday, May 1, 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
May is Motorcycle Safety Month
Houston County Courier - May 2008
May is Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month in Texas, and Texas Department of Public Safety urges all motorcyclists and the traveling public to practice safe driving habits.
The 852,781 licensed motorcyclists in the state can improve their own safety by following this advice from DPS:
* Attend a professionally taught motorcycle safety course. (Call (800) 292-5787 for information.)
* Wear protective equipment, including a helmet, whenever riding.
* Ride defensively.
* Avoid risk-taking behavior, such as speeding, weaving in between traffic and riding while intoxicated.
Nationally, almost half of all motorcycle fatalities involve alcohol.
Drivers in vehicles other than motorcycles should realize that motorcycles are sometimes difficult to see, so keep an eye out for them.
Don't cut them off, and give them extra space.
Record numbers of Texans are taking advantage of the basic and advanced motorcycle operator training offered by the DPS Motorcycle Safety Unit.
Last year, 33,697 Texans took either the basic or advanced course, setting an all-time record number for the 13th straight year.
The basic course may be used to waive the licensing road test, and both of the courses may qualify for ticket dismissal and insurance discounts.
Motorcycle riders can locate the course nearest to them by visiting the DPS website www.txdps.state.tx.us/msb/ and can take advantage of 81 permanent locations and nine mobile sites across the state.
"We continue to notice an increase in crashes involving returning riders, meaning those who have ridden before, took some time off from riding and are getting back into it." said John G. Young, coordinator of the DPS Motorcycle Safety Unit. "We want to encourage them to enroll in one of our courses to brush up on their skills."
In 2006, latest statistics available, 346 people in Texas died as a result of motorcycle crashes-63 percent of those were not wearing a helmet. Texas law states that in order to be exempt from wearing a helmet, a person must be at least 21 years of age. In addition, they must successfully complete a motorcycle safety course or be covered by a health insurance plan providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits for motorcycle-related injuries. DPS recommends all motorcycle riders wear helmets.
For additional information on motorcycle training, call (512) 424-2021 or toll-free at (800) 292-5787. More safety information is available at www.looklearnlive.org.