When humans become suddenly and overwhelmingly afraid, their biology introduces a fight or flight response into their bodies. Whether it is best to flee or fight is dependent upon the particulars of the frightening situation. Two years ago, Texas lawmakers passed legislation designed to inspire frightened underage drinking buddies to call the police rather than flee the scene if one of their peers seemed to be suffering from alcohol poisoning.
Deep in the heart of Texas, countless bikers enjoy riding wild and free on vast expanses of picturesque roads. Unfortunately, the joy of riding is too often tainted by the news that a fellow biker has suffered a devastating injury or has been killed due to the negligence of a reckless driver. Thankfully, the rate of fatal motorcycle accidents in Texas has finally begun to drop after several years of rising steadily.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), motorcycle fatalities in the Lone Star State dropped in 2012 by six percent over the previous year. This is most welcome news for all Texans. However, this percentage drop occurred only after the fatal motorcycle accident rate spiked by more than 55 percent between the years of 2004 and 2011. Much work has yet to be accomplished in helping to keep bikers safe in Texas.
Last month the U.S. observed national Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. During that time, TxDOT and other state agencies employed multiple campaigns aimed at educating both bikers and motorists on the prevalence of fatal motorcycle accidents that occur annually as well as how to prevent future collisions. TxDOT also highlighted the fact that more than half of all bikers killed in Texas are not wearing helmets at the time of their accidents.
These campaigns are a positive step forward in helping to educate all members of the public about biker safety. However, the slight drop in motorcycle fatalities during 2012 is simply not enough positive change to rest upon. More education, stricter enforcement of safety laws and perhaps more regulation of both bikers and motorists may be necessary in order to protect hundreds of lives this year and thousands in the following years.
Source: The Dallas Morning News, “Texas motorcycle, scooter deaths down in 2012 but still higher than a decade ago,” Jeff Mosier, May 5, 2013