AUSTIN --To kick off May as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Austin police and members of the Patriot Guard held a ride through downtown Austin.
Austin police officials say there have already been six deadly motorcycle accidents this year in the city, and they hope to change that rising trend by reminding drivers to be careful.
APD led the way in a ride through downtown. With them were about 20 members of the Austin Patriot Guard. Normally, the riders have American flags on the back of their bikes to honor fallen soldiers and first responders, but Friday they replaced them with flags that read "Look Twice."
TxDOT surveyed drivers who were in accidents with motorcycles and found that half of them said they did not even see the motorcyclist. According to TxDOT, in 2012 460 Texas motorcyclist were killed in accidents. That's down six percent from 2011, when 488 riders were killed.
"Even one death is one death too many,' said TxDOT Traffic Operations Director Carol Rawson, "But seeing a decrease after a number of years of seeing increases is very good news from a motorcyclist standpoint."
"You've just got to remember that we're a lot smaller target, and you can do a lot more damage to us. I mean, it's real easy to miss a motorcycle," added Robert Stancil, deputy state captain of the Austin Patriot Guard Riders.
In 2012, 89 percent of accidents involving a motorcycle resulted in injury or death of the rider.
Officials say it's important to look twice, meaning look left, look right and then look left again. Experts say this breaks up a driver's tunnel vision of just looking for cars and changes their perception to be more aware of motorcycles.