BOISE – Warming temperatures have people across the state looking for ways to get out and enjoy the spring weather. For many Idahoans, that enjoyment comes by riding a motorcycle on one of our many scenic highways.
“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.”
Idaho’s beautiful highways have been a dangerous place for some motorcyclists — 140 people were killed in motorcycle crashes between 2011 and 2016, with 42 percent of those crashes involving other vehicles.
“Drivers and riders alike need to share the responsibility of keeping our roads safe,” said Triplett. “We realize it’s our job to ride safely and sanely but we want you to take that extra second and think about motorcyclists while we’re out on the highway.”
The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and its partners in motorcycle safety remind drivers to “Look Twice for Motorcycles” to help prevent motorcycle rider deaths and injuries during May’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
“As drivers, we need to do our part and look out for motorcyclists because they are smaller and hard to see,” said Josephine Middleton, of ITD’s Office of Highway Safety.
“As motorcyclists, we need to wear protective gear and always be prepared for the worst, because in most crashes between motorcycles and other vehicles, the drivers of the other vehicle did not see the motorcycle until it was too late,” Middleton explained.
She 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 the same rights 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.
Completion of the Idaho STAR Motorcycle Rider Training Program may mean up to an 89-percent reduction in the risk of a fatal crash, according to analysis of crash data.
“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.
To learn more about the Idaho STAR motorcycle-rider training program, go to http://idahostar.org/