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Idaho received the 2012 Outstanding State Award from the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA). The award recognizes a state’s comprehensive motorcycle safety program that has implemented strategies that are successful, effective and can be measured, evaluated, and serve best practices.   
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Idaho Motorcycle Fatality
Summary
The following summary of motorcycle fatalities has been prepared by the Strategic Highway Safety Plan Motorcycle Committee. Much of the credit of this work goes to Lane Triplett, Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety Chairman.
We want to share these numbers with you today as another tool to guide you when you're making decisions about riding safe.

-Ax
 

For the last two years, we have been gathering data from the State of Idaho Vehicle Collision Reports for Motorcycles for the years 2009, 2010, and 2011.  This project began during one of the initial planning sessions for the Idaho Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) Motorcycle Safety Committee. One of the strategies outlined was to analyze the data and identify some of the circumstances contributing to Idaho’s motorcycle fatalities. This analysis continues to be a work in progress and more information and data will be added as it becomes available. The goal is to create a perpetual 5 year data base.

There were 34 fatalities in 2009, 28 fatalities in 2010, and 17 fatalities in 2011 included in 76 reports. Three reports include 2 victims.  Five of these 79 fatalities were passengers.  The following chart is a sampling of causation factors. Some crashes include one or more factors. While it is possible that some of the single vehicle crashes may have been affected by an unreported animal or other vehicle, there is no data, physical evidence, or statements within the reports to support such occurrences.
 
Rider error means that the actions of the rider caused the crash. Driver error means that a car or other vehicle type caused the crash.
 
Alcohol and drug use continues to be a significant factor in fatalities. The goal is to provide accurate information about impairment. However, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain the effect that impairment may have had in a fatal crash. All levels of alcohol impairment are recorded but those that are under the legal limit are noted as such. It is recognized that some degree of impairment begins below the legal limit. In addition, THC/marijuana use can be detected by a blood test for approximately 30 days. Therefore when a rider tests positive for THC and/or has a low to moderate BAC level, it is difficult to determine to what degree they were under the influence at the time of the crash. But because of the positive test, the crash must be recorded as impairment involved. Alcohol/drug use by the drivers of other vehicles shall also be recorded as impairment involved but noted as such. 

*One of the 14 fatalities that were driver error had contributing line-of-sight issues.  The signal operation at that intersection has since been changed. 

**One of these was an intoxicated automobile driver and one rider was under the legal limit at .01.
 
Of the total 79 fatalities, 58 were identified as rider error and 1 is questionable. This means up to 59 out of 79 were due to rider error.  Thirteen of the fatalities are without question the fault of another vehicle operator.  This analysis does not include detailed information on serious injuries, levels of injury (A, B, C) or other involved crashes.
 
It should be noted that 21 fatalities were out of state riders (19 riders, 2 passengers). Two were endorsed, one was not, and rest of the endorsement information is unknown at this time. Of the 57 Idaho riders involved in fatal crashes, 36 had their motorcycle endorsement, and 23 did not.  Two of the riders had no driver’s license at all, and 2 were riding on suspended licenses.  Of the 57 Idaho riders, only 9 had taken a rider training course and one had failed.  In three of these crashes, the rider survived but the passenger did not.

It is commonly believed that motorcycle fatalities are generally young men on sport bikes and/or riders not wearing helmets.

 
Here is what the data tell us on these topics:
 
Of those 45 without helmets, 5 incident reports indicate severe head trauma.  Of those 31 with helmets, 4 incident reports indicate head trauma. Actual causes of death were not available. 

Primary conclusions from this analysis:
  • We (riders) are killing ourselves at a far greater rate than we had ever assumed (≈73% – 75% rider error)
  • 68% of victims are over 40 years old and 48% are between the ages of 40 and 59
  • Corners are the biggest killers (≈43% run off corner)
  • 36% of involved Idaho licensed riders did not have a motorcycle endorsement
  • Illegal drug and alcohol use contributed in many cases (≈33% illegal alcohol/drug involvement by riders)
  • Drivers violating riders’ right-of-way is also a contributing factor (≈17%)
  • Only 16% of involved Idaho licensed riders had passed a rider training course

 

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