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Look Twice for Motorcycles

Published by Carly Oppie on Friday, May 01, 2015
"Look Twice for Motorcycles" during May's Motorcycle Awareness Month

BOISE - The Idaho STAR Program, Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety, and other partners in motorcycle safety remind motorists to “Look Twice for Motorcycles” to help prevent motorcycle rider deaths and injuries during May’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Preliminary data shows that five motorcyclists have died in crashes on Idaho highways so far in 2015. A total of 25 motorcycle riders lost their lives in the Gem State in 2014. 
Click here for ITD’s May campaign's billboard image.
“Due to the early spring weather, more people are trading out their cars and trucks for motorcycles,” said Josephine Middleton, of ITD’s Office of Highway Safety.

During the last five years (2010-2014), there have been 117 fatal motorcycle crashes. In 44 percent of these fatal crashes, another vehicle was involved. 

“In motorcycle crashes that involve another vehicle, most drivers did not see the motorcycle until it was too late,” Middleton explained. “This almost always leads to tragic consequences for the motorcycle rider because they are exposed to a much greater risk of fatal or serious injury.” 

Always wearing protective riding gear and a helmet is an important way for a motorcyclist to stay safe. Of the 117 people killed in motorcycle crashes from 2010-2014, more than half (54 percent) were not wearing helmets. 

“It is up to all motorists and motorcyclists to make our roads safer,” said Officer Will Stoy, with Meridian Police Department’s Motor Patrol Unit. 

“All road users need to share the responsibility of keeping the roads safe so deaths can be prevented,” added Officer Stoy. 

He offered tips to drivers on how to prevent a fatal crash with a motorcycle: 

• Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
• Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
• If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful: motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
• Check mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
• Always allow more following distance – three to four seconds – when behind a motorcycle. This gives them more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
• Never drive or ride distracted or impaired.

In 56 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes from 2010-2014, no other vehicle was involved. Several factors contributed to these fatal motorcycle crashes during that time period — Impairment (alcohol or drugs), 28 percent; Aggressive driving, 22 percent; Inattentive driving 9 percent. 

Completion of the Idaho STAR Motorcycle Rider Training Program is associated with a 79-percent reduction in crash risk, and an 89-percent reduction in the risk of a fatal crash, according to analysis of crash data from 1996-2010. 

“Can you reduce your chance of crashing on a motorcycle? Yes, you can, by taking motorcycle-rider training,” said Sunshine Beer, director of the Idaho STAR Program.

Motorcyclists can increase their safety by following these steps:

• Wear a DOT-compliant helmet and other protective gear.
• Obey all traffic laws and be properly licensed.
• Use hand and turn signals at every lane change or turn.
• Wear brightly colored clothes and reflective tape to increase visibility.
• Ride in the part of the lane where you will be the most visible to drivers.
• Never ride distracted or impaired.

“Idaho is a great place for motorcycle riding,” said Lane Triplett from the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety. “Our roads have beautiful scenic views that require varying degrees of technical riding ability, which is why riders from around the globe come to our state. Drivers and riders alike need to share the responsibility of keeping our roads safe.”

To help raise awareness of the presence of motorcycles, the Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety (ICMS), ABATE of North Idaho, and the Idaho STAR Program, will host motorcycle awareness rallies in Boise and in Coeur d’Alene, on May 2.

Boise: Riders will meet at 11 a.m. at Sandy Point Park, with an escorted ride to the Capitol, and barbecue after at Municipal Park. Hosted by ICMS and STAR
Coeur d’Alene: Riders will meet at the Kootenai County Courthouse at 10 a.m. Hosted by ICMS, STAR and ABATE of North Idaho.

To learn more about the Idaho STAR motorcycle-rider training program, go to


Dirty Harry commented on 14-Jul-2015 04:56 AM
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Clandes Motards commented on 27-Aug-2015 10:58 PM
Very well written article! Motorcyclists are at a larger risk of accidents and hence there is a need of more responsible motorcyclists to ensure that everyone remains safe. Every motorcyclist must wear appropriate riding gear. Getting your motorcycle accessorized correctly can also help in reducing the impact of accidents. Wear helmets always and make sure that the helmet you buy is a genuine DOT approved one. Let us all contribute in making our surroundings a safe haven!
Aleida Polachek commented on 22-Feb-2016 10:50 AM
great. Thanks
Dionne Trattner commented on 22-Feb-2016 12:31 PM
great. Thanks
Russell Clark commented on 02-Jun-2016 12:14 AM
A nice and well written article indeed! It is very necessary for any motorcyclist to wear the riding gear in order to ignore accidents. Many a times it happens that in the accidents the rider gets severely injured just because of not wearing the helmet and other riding gears. Post on the also shared the importance of wearing the riding gear while on the motorcycle, a few months ago.

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