Posts tagged: motorcycle safety
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.”
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.
Idaho motorcycle deaths dropped by nearly 40 percent from 2010 to 2011, the Twin Falls Times-News reports. Here's the news item, via the Associated Press: TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) ― A study by the Governors Highway Safety Association shows that the number of motorcycle deaths dropped in Idaho last year, but remained consistent nationwide. Idaho Transportation Department analyst Steve Rich told The Times-News (http://bit.ly/KZNIBB ) that there were 17 motorcycle deaths in 2011, compared to 28 in 2010. The Governor's Highway Safety Association found that motorcycle deaths remained at about 4,500 nationwide. Stacy Axmaker, director of the Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program, says the drop suggests that efforts in motorcyclist training, motorist awareness and an emphasis on riding sober are working. The program offers skill training for riders of all levels. Axmaker says men older than 40 riding cruisers and touring bikes are more likely to be in crashes than young riders on sport bikes.