Every year, about 500 motorcycle crashes are reported in Idaho. To remind drivers and riders of the importance of sharing the road, Idaho riders are joining the national Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month campaign through the month of May.
To reduce the risk of crashes, drivers are encouraged to be alert and look for motorcyclists. Motorcycle riders are also reminded to make themselves visible to other motorists while on the road, wear protective gear, and be prepared for the unexpected.
“Most drivers have had the experience of not seeing a motorcycle until it’s really close to our car or it has passed us,” said Stacey “Ax” Axmaker, Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program director. “Motorcycles are often difficult to see in traffic, so we encourage all drivers to look twice before turning, pulling out, or changing lanes. This simple behavior is something everybody can do to help reduce the number of crashes, and that means more riders coming home to their families at the end of the day.”
According to Idaho Transportation Department data from 2009 to 2012, there were 2,133 crashes involving a motorcycle, resulting in 101 people killed and 678 people seriously injured. A car violating a motorcyclist’s right-of-way is associated with about 20 percent of Idaho’s motorcycle fatalities.
“The fact is that we live in a world of distracted road users,” said Axmaker. “It’s not that they are ‘out to get us,’ it’s just that for far too many drivers – driving is not their first priority. From texting, to talking on the phone, checking Facebook and Twitter, eating, drinking, reading, writing, and even shaving or putting on makeup – there lots of distractions out there. And remember…riders can be distracted, too: GPS, CB radio, music, communication systems and in-helmet phones, and watching the rest of the group we are riding with, can all distract us from our ride. Drivers and riders are both reminded to attend to traffic and the road. Everything else is secondary.”
About Idaho STAR
The Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program is an Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Education program and operates through the College of Southern Idaho. STAR is accredited by the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA). STAR training is associated with a 79% reduced crash risk and an 89% reduction in the risk of a fatal crash. STAR provides courses for all levels of riders, taught by Idaho certified instructors. To find a class near you visit idahostar.org or call 1-888-280-7827.