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Posts tagged: Idaho Star

Flurry of fatal crashes a sad kickoff to motorcycle safety month

Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on how three motorcycle fatalities over the weekend added a grim underscore to the safety awareness message officials are promoting at a series of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month events kicking off this week. Washington lost one motorcyclist over the same weekend, the first sunny, warm one of the spring.

“Three in one weekend – it’s attention-grabbing, it’s tragic, it’s terrible for those riders and their families,” said Stacey “Ax” Axmaker, director of the Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program. “But that kind of thing does happen.” Idaho saw 22 fatal motorcycle accidents in 2012; Washington had 83. In both states, the main cause of fatal motorcycle accidents is now rider error, as opposed to motorists in cars or trucks who fail to notice the cyclists. So safety messages are stressing not only awareness for motorists, who may find motorcycles hard to see, but preparation and safety for motorcycle riders themselves.

Will Stoy, an Idaho STAR instructor and motorcycle officer for the Meridian Police Department, said in Idaho in 2012, 75 percent of motorcycle fatalities were attributable to rider error. Other numbers that might surprise people: 68 percent were riders over 40 years old, and 72 percent were on cruisers or large touring motorcycles. A third – 33 percent – involved impaired riders.

Stoy will join local law enforcement officials in Coeur d’Alene tomorrow night for a free public session on “How to avoid a ticket and survive a crash, taught by your local motor officers.” The session, at Coeur d’Alene’s Fire Station No. 3, 1500 N. 15thSt., will run from 6-8 p.m. Stoy has led similar sessions in the Treasure Valley, and promises, “We’ll be doing more of these.”

Three die over weekend in motorcycle crashes, safety rallies planned around state Saturday

This past weekend saw three fatal motorcycle accidents on Idaho roads, making the message being promoted this Saturday at four motorcycle safety awareness rallies across the state all the more pressing. Idaho STAR, the state’s motorcycle safety program, is encouraging motorists to “look twice for motorcycles” as they hit the roads with the advent of spring weather, and also encouraging motorcyclists to wear protective gear, be prepared for the unexpected, make themselves visible to other motorists on the roads, and sharpen up their riding skills with training courses.

“Most drivers have had the experience of not seeing a motorcycle while driving, until it’s really close to our car or it has passed us,” said Stacey “Ax” Axmaker, Idaho STAR director. “Motorcycles are sometimes difficult to see in traffic, so we encourage all drivers to look twice before turning, pulling out or changing lanes.”

Idaho STAR also offers skills training courses to motorcyclists of all ability levels at 12 training locations around the state; the program’s review of Idaho crash data from 1996-2010 showed that riders who took the training courses were 79 percent less likely to crash and 89 percent less likely to be killed in a crash. There’s more info here, or you can call (888) 280-7827.

Saturday’s rallies include a ride to the Capitol, sponsored by the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety and starting with a gathering at 11 a.m. at Sandy Point Park east of Boise; a ride down Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene, with riders meeting at 9:30 a.m. at the Kootenai County Courthouse; a ride to Freeman Park in Idaho Falls, with riders meeting at Rocky Mountain Middle School at 11 a.m.; and a ride to the Clearwater County Courthouse in Orofino, with riders meeting at the IGA parking lot at 11 a.m.

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month, prompting the rallies. The fatal crashes in Idaho over the weekend included one Friday on State Highway 21; one Friday near Worley in North Idaho; and one Saturday near the Warm Springs Golf Course in Boise.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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