In observance of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month this May, the Texas Department of Transportation is encouraging motorists to look twice for two-wheeled vehicles and take advantage of a statewide tour that will stop in North Texas and feature a virtual driving simulation meant to illustrate the importance of remaining aware of motorcyclists’ presence on the road.

“We just want people in four-wheeled vehicles to be especially aware of motorcycles not just during this month, but really all the time,” TxDOT Paris District Public Information Officer Tim McAlavy said. “You’ve got to remember that motorcycles don’t have the safety and protection features that our four-wheel vehicles have.”

According to an emailed TxDOT release distributed Monday, more than 2,100 Texas motorcyclists were seriously injured in crashes last year and another 501 were killed. It was unclear whether the injuries and deaths were the direct result of motorcycles colliding with four-wheeled vehicles.

“Nobody wants to take a life in a crash or lose a loved one,” TxDOT Executive Director James Bass said in the release. “Motorcycles are small, they’re hard to see, and it can be difficult to judge their speed and distance.”

Intersections are particularly risky sites for serious crashes involving motorcycles. From 2010 to 2015, TxDOT reports that 25 percent of such crashes occurred when one vehicle turned left in front of an oncoming motorcycle, likely due to drivers not seeing the motorcycle.

“Try not to turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle, be sure to use your turn signals and check your blind spot,” McAlavy said. “Always assume a motorcycle is closer than they might appear to be in your mirrors. Please don’t follow a motorcycle too closely and it’s always a good idea to give motorcyclists the full lane.”

The statewide awareness campaign will stop in eight Texas cities, including Frisco on May 18. McAlavy encouraged those seeking additional information about the campaign and the agency’s work to follow TxDOT’s Twitter pages for its various districts.

McAlavy said regardless of what type of vehicle Texans drive, motorcycles and motorcyclists deserve just as much respect and attention on the road.

“Just like those of us who drive a car, they use our highways, byways and roadways,” McAlavy said. “Treat them like they’re any other full-sized vehicle out on the road.”