BOISE—Idaho is one of the top five states that reduced motorcyclist deaths in 2011 with a 48 percent reduction rate, according to a study conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). In contrast, the report reveals that, nationwide, no progress was made in reducing motorcyclist deaths in 2011.
While Idaho dropped from 28 motorcycle deaths in 2010 to 17 in 2011, the number of deaths nationwide is expected to remain at about 4,500 for both years, based on the report’s preliminary data. The GHSA report shows that, when comparing data from the first nine months of 2010 to the same period in 2011, only 23 states saw a decrease in motorcycle fatalities, Idaho ranking number 4 among those states that saw fatalities drop. A total of 26 states, plus the District of Columbia, experienced an increase in fatalities.
“We are pleased to see such a strong decrease in the number of motorcycle fatalities in Idaho for 2011,” said Stacey “Ax” Axmaker, director of the Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program. “This suggests that the efforts being made in training, motorist awareness, and riding sober are working.
“Sadly, the reality for those Idaho families involved in a crash is that one death is too many. To prevent these deaths, and to help motorcyclists come back to their loved ones after every ride, we’ll keep working on offering skill training for riders of all levels, increasing motorcycle awareness, and strongly encouraging riders to wear protective gear.”
The results in the GHSA report are preliminary and include only the first nine months of the year. A 12 month count of motorcycle fatalities in Idaho for the last two years shows a 39 percent reduction, from 28 motorcycle fatalities in 2010 to 17 in 2011. So far in 2012, there have been four fatal crashes in Idaho.
Data from Idaho’s 2009-10 fatal crashes revealed some surprising facts:
- 42 percent of motorcycle fatalities involved the rider running off the road in a corner
- 69 percent of the fatalities were individuals over 40 years old; 16 percent were under 30
- 75 percent were cruisers on touring bikes; 14 percent were sport bikes
- 29 percent of the fatalities showed alcohol/drug involvement by riders
- 18 percent of the fatalities resulted from a car violating a rider’s right-of-way
In addition, a study of all 7,738 motorcycle crashes in Idaho from 1996 to 2010 indicated that STAR training is associated with a 79 percent reduced crash risk. There was also an 89 percent reduction in the risk of a fatal crash.
“What these numbers tell us is that it’s not so much the young riders on sport bikes, but the men over 40 on cruisers and touring bikes. It also suggests that STAR rider training is a good way to lower your risk,” said Axmaker.
To learn more about STAR courses, dates and locations, visit idahostar.org or call 888-280-STAR (7827).
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.