DPS urges extra caution around motorcycles

HARLINGEN — Since the advent of text messaging, riding a motorcycle on Rio Grande Valley roadways has gotten even more dangerous than it already was, biker David “Dawg” Delnay said.

“I’ve been riding for 42 years — half a million miles — and it’s dangerous out there,” said Delnay, a Harlingen resident.

“Ever since we got text messaging, I’ve been ridden off the road, forced out of a lane or forced to the shoulder by texters or phone talkers dozens of times. They’re kind of like in a zone. You’ve got to be very defensive.”

Trinidad Flores, also of Harlingen and a 40-year biker, said he’s had biker friends die in crashes with drivers since moving here eight years ago from San Antonio.

“The main thing is to keep your eyes open,” he said. “People like to drive down the road looking right and looking left every couple of seconds. Something can happen in a matter of a split second.”

May is Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month, a time when the Texas Department of Public Safety reminds drivers to use extra caution around motorcycles on the roadways.

Delnay, a past president and road captain of the Confederation of Valley Motorcycle Clubs, said road safety is the responsibility of bikers as well as drivers. While everyone understands that motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than cars or trucks, there are things bikers can do to lower their risk.

“I tend to dress in more brightly colored clothes so I’m highly visible,” Delnay said. “The riders need to maintain lane positioning. A big part of it is to stand out and to always be looking ahead.”

Use of mirrors and proper hand signaling also are important, he said.

Delnay supports the current law prohibiting lane-splitting and is a big advocate of helmets. He said he’s been in four serious crashes, three caused by other drivers and one due to mechanical failure. Many bike clubs now recommend that their members wear full-face helmets and full-body protection, he said.

Delnay said he supports the DPS recommendation that all drivers “Share the Road: Look Twice for Motorcycles,” which is the Texas Department of Transportation’s public awareness campaign highlighting motorcycle safety.

“Look twice and save a life — and don’t text and drive. The life you save could be your own,” Delnay said.

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