NEW REPORT: Motorcycle Deaths Up In Idaho - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NEW REPORT: Motorcycle Deaths Up In Idaho

BOISE, Idaho - Traffic deaths have increased nationwide by 13.5 percent during the first quarter of 2012, according to estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Unfortunately, following this trend, Idaho has also experienced an increase in motorcycle fatalities; preliminary data shows fatalities have doubled from last year with a total of 13 fatalities by the end of July 2012, compared to six at the same time last year.

"Looking at the 2009-2011 data, about 70 percent of the fatal motorcycle crashes in Idaho were associated with rider error, so we are reminding riders to learn and practice skills and wear the appropriate gear when they ride," said Stacey "Ax" Axmaker, Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program director. "However, drivers are also involved in a significant number of fatal crashes, and they also need to be reminded to be aware of motorcycles, and remember to look twice and share the road with motorcyclists."

Out of the 13 fatalities in Idaho so far, six occurred during July alone. NHTSA's report indicates that the warmer weather in 2012 may be playing a part in the increased numbers. "Certainly, nicer weather means more riders on the road," said Axmaker.

"While many motorcycle crashes can be prevented, we know that they happen. About 500 to 600 crashes are reported every year in Idaho. When a crash does happen, good quality riding gear –a jacket, pants, gloves and helmet– can make a huge difference in injury and even survival. If you are a rider, please gear up. If you have a rider in your life that you care about, ask them to gear up," said Axmaker.

STAR training is associated with a 79 percent reduced crash risk and an 89 percent reduction in the risk of a fatal crash. To learn more about Idaho STAR and motorcycle training, visit www.idahostar.org.

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