LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Texas Department of Public Safety is asking drivers to take extra safety precautions after two motorcycle accidents happened in one week in Lubbock, about 500 feet apart.
The first crash occurred on the morning of Aug. 24, when 63-year-old Billy Dan Parker was riding his motorcycle with 63-year-old Brenda Cox.
A Chevy Malibu pulled in front of them to enter a parking lot, causing them to collide at 82nd and Akron.
Both Parker and Cox died from their injuries.
"We get in a habit of looking down the roadway looking for cars or trucks coming down the road," said DPS Sergeant Bryan Witt, "and sometimes we don't take the time to look for these smaller vehicles."
That Saturday, Aug. 30, a man was turning onto 82nd Street on his motorcycle when he was hit by a Ford SUV as it was turning into Bolton's Gas Station.
The man was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.
"We need to learn to share the road with them," Witt said, "because as we can see, they're just increasing in numbers on the roadways."
Witt said the numbers are increasing because gas is cheaper to buy for motorcycles.
"You see these motorcycle social groups that are starting up and they travel together," he said, "so you see a lot of motorcycles on the road, more than you saw in the 2000s."
Witt says drivers need to check their mirrors every three to five seconds for a motorcyclist.
"When you're merging onto the loop or something like that, or merging off the loop, make sure you check those blind spots because that's when you're probably going to miss them," he said, "is when you're changing lanes or when you're at the intersection getting ready to pull off."
Even vehicles driving behind a motorcyclist need to take precautions, Witt said, to avoid a crash.
"Give yourself a little bit of extra room in the event that they need to slow down or stop," he said, "because they'll be able to stop that motorcycle a lot faster than you can stop a car."
The Texas Department of Transportation reported 495 motorcycle fatalities in the state last year, with a five percent increase in motorcycle accidents each year.
However, Witt says this can change.
"As you can tell by those numbers, there's work to be done on both sides," he said. "from motorcycle riders, also from vehicle operators.
Witt encourages motorcyclists with a license to make sure and take an additional training course.
"Always remember to wear your helmets," he said. "That's something that could save your life."