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620 W Division St
P.O. Box 1065
Arlington, TX 76004-1065

Phone: 817-459-5700

 
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Motorcycling for many people in Texas is a way of life. For others, it is their primary mode of transportation. Still others just like to take in the beautiful Texas scenery on the weekends to get away from work. No matter what reason you choose to ride a motorcycle or moped, you know how much fun riding can be. Riding a motorcycle is also very serious business and requires extra concentration and judgment.

In an attempt to reduce fatalities and educate riders in riding responsibly and SMART, law enforcement agencies across the metroplex are taking a zero tolerance approach against unsafe motorcycle riding.

Despite the best prevention efforts, motorcycle crashes do occur. In a crash, the most important factor for reducing injuries to a motorcyclist is personal protection. Proper riding gear can consist of eye protection, leather jackets and pants, durable gloves, and proper footwear. The most important piece of protection however is a DOT certified helmet. In Texas helmets are required on both the rider and passenger unless specific exemptions are met. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders who do not wear helmets are 40% more likely to receive fatal head injuries than riders who do. In Texas, 63% of the fatal motorcycle crashes during 2006 involved a rider who was not wearing a helmet.

Many motorcycle and moped riders are operating without a valid license. A class M license authorizes the holder of the license to operate a motorcycle or moped. If a vehicle is determined to be a moped, the operator must either have the class M, or a moped license. In 2006 according to NHTSA, 29% of motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes in Texas were not properly licensed.

The failure of motorists to detect motorcycles is the most frequent cause of crashes for motorcyclists. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, more than one half of motorcycle crashes occur because the driver simply "did not see the motorcyclist coming." The most common of these is when a motorist fails to yield right of way to the motorcycle by turning left in front of them. Motorcyclists need to ride with extra caution paying notice to what traffic is doing further down the road ahead of them. Motorcyclists also need to be aware that many drivers do not see them, and that they need to ride paying close attention to all of the vehicles surrounding them.

Riding a motorcycle requires a very high level of concentration, and judgment. Road conditions can change in an instant; whether it is rain, oil, sand or an oversized pothole, 100% of a rider's concentration is always needed. Judging distances, speed, and braking are just a few of the many things that must also be accomplished in an instant while riding a motorcycle. With the amount of focus needed to operate a motorcycle safely, any bit of impairment may slow reaction times down, which may ultimately prove to be fatal. According to NHTSA, in 2006, 27% of all fatally injured motorcycle operators had BAC (blood alcohol concentration) levels of .08 or higher. An additional 7% had lower alcohol levels (BAC .01 to .07). While operating a motorcycle, riders should not consume alcoholic beverages, or ingest any type of medication which may alter their ability to operate the motorcycle safely.

 

As licensed operators of both passenger vehicles and motorcycles, we must obey ALL traffic laws. Motorcyclists have specific laws including registration, inspection, and laws pertaining to helmet usage. Along with operators not having a motorcycle license, several also don't have valid insurance, which may lead to their motorcycles being towed. One of the violations which is more common is an obstructed license plate (plates which have either been removed all together or moved further into the rear wheel well, and plates which are mounted sideways near the swing arm of the motorcycle).

Most motorcyclists obey the traffic laws, making every attempt to operate their bike in a safe and reasonable manner, however, a small amount of riders are engaging in aggressive and dangerous riding behaviors. These motorcycle riders which attempt to evade a pursuing police vehicle may not be aware that they are in fact committing a felony offense, which will result in arrests and criminal charges along with their motorcycles being towed.


Arlington Police Department Motor Unit

Staying sharp and riding SMART is just another way to enjoy yourself while out on the open road. For further information on this program, please contact the Arlington Police Department at 817-459-5725, or contact your local agency.


Ride SMART Announcement Event - pictures

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