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Motorcyclists raise safety awareness with ride across Abilene

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ABILENE, Texas - Monday morning, about two dozen motorcyclists and several Abilene organizations gathered at the Taylor County Expo Center as the starting point to kick off the annual Ride to Work event.

Their main goal for the event is to raise awareness about motorcyclists on the roadways, especially because they are not always easily seen.

"I just want people to know we're out here trying to be safe, and we just want people to be safe and help us out," said Dean Carter, a local motorcyclist and Ride to Work participant.

So the riders made themselves seen, riding from the Taylor County Expo Center across town in one large group that stretched across the lanes of Loop 322.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, on average, one motorcyclist is killed every day in the state of Texas. They are six times more likely to be hurt in an accident and 26 times more likely to be killed.

"We know this time of year there's more motorcyclists out, and so we want to increase awareness for those drivers," said Jill Collett with TxDOT.

In 2014, roughly 430,000 motorcycles were registered in the state, making Texas third in the country for registered motorcycles. Collett said with that many motorcyclists on the road, drivers in cars need to be fully aware of their surroundings.

"Just drive safe, put down your cell phone, [the fewer] distractions in the car, the safer that you'll be," Collett said. "It just takes a second for something to happen, so we want to make sure all of our drivers are safe out there."

The Ride to Work event, which was organized by the Abilene Metropolitan Planning Organization, TxDOT, and other groups from Abilene, wrapped up at Kent's Harley Davidson, where a free lunch was provided for participants.

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