May is National Motorcycle Awareness Month and the Texas Department of Public Safety is taking this as an opportunity to remind motorists to be ready to share the road.

When the weather starts to warm up people who ride motorcycles take it as a sign to get their bike out of the garage and go for a ride. Unfortunately, while they are fun, motorcycles also offer less protection than a car or truck so their riders face a greater risk of injury in the event of a crash. When you couple this with the fact some drivers fail to even notice motorcycles because of their size, it is a recipe for disaster.

Texas Department of Public safety is trying to change all that with a public service campaign aimed squarely at drivers.

The statistics regarding crashes involving motorcycles are shocking: number of motorcyclists killed annually since 2000 has more than doubled, from 196 in 2000 to 472 in 2011. The 472 motorcycle drivers and passengers who lost their lives in Texas accounted for 16 percent of traffic deaths in the state. Eighty-seven percent of motorcycle crashes result in death or injury of the motorcyclist. The number of motorcycles on Texas roadways has more than doubled in the last decade.

Hopefully the Texas Department of Public Safety can help turn the tide of motorcycle crashes.

“Motorcyclists face unique safety challenges on Texas roads because they are smaller, more difficult to see and less protected than cars and trucks,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Motorcyclists can protect themselves on the road by obeying traffic laws and wearing their helmets. Motorists can help by looking twice for motorcycles and giving them additional space.”

DPS recommends all drivers “Share the Road” and “Look Twice” for motorcycles, which are public awareness campaigns that highlight motorcycle safety. Motorists should take caution, especially at intersections and when changing lanes – the two places where serious motorcycle collisions occur. Half of all fatal motorcycle crashes in Texas occur because the car or truck driver never saw the motorcyclist.