TxDOT launches motorcycle campaign in effort to save lives




Posted on April 19, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Updated Friday, Apr 20 at 7:32 AM

FORT WORTH - Mark Miller doesn't remember much of what happened on April 26, 2008, but pictures reveal the horrific crash that nearly cost him his life.

"I broke this [right] eye socket," Miller said. "I had whiplash. I have two burns on my shoulder from laying on the exhaust."

There were other injuries. Miller stayed in the hospital for five weeks.

Paramedics rushed him there after he crashed his motorcycle into a minivan, trying to avoid a driver that didn't see him. The bike damaged the van's front bumper. Miller's body destroyed the windshield.

"It seems that they do not see you," Miller said.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 470 motorcycle riders and passengers died on Texas roads and highways last year, 41 more deaths than in 2010. TxDOT officials said the driver never saw the bike in half of all motorcycle crashes.

The statistics forced the agency to launch a new safety campaign, called Look Twice.

It's putting up billboards along highways across the state and airing public service announcements in both English and Spanish to drive its safety message home, urging drivers to look twice for motorcycles and scooters at intersections and when they are changing lanes.

Sgt. Mark Cagle from the Fort Worth police motorcycle unit drives with extra caution, because of too many close calls. He has been hit by a car while on duty.

"They never see the motorcycle, the smaller profile," Cagle said. "It's hidden in blind spots behind a car."

He hopes the campaign makes a difference.

"If you are motorist, look twice," Cagle said. "Look in your rear-view mirror. Look twice and save somebody's life."

It's advice Mark Miller hopes drivers heed. He will also be on the lookout.

"There's no doubt about it, 'cause I won't put myself in that position again," Miller said. "Anytime there is a blind anything, I will be watching for it, because the next time I won't be so lucky."

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com