Motorcycle Deaths Down Statewide, Stay Low in Magic Valley

2012-06-11T02:10:00Z Motorcycle Deaths Down Statewide, Stay Low in Magic ValleyBY ALISON GENE SMITH - alismith@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News

TWIN FALLS • While motorcycle deaths have dropped statewide in Idaho in the last year they have remained the same in the Magic Valley.

According to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, Idaho is one of the top five states that reduced motorcycle deaths in 2011, with a 48 percent reduction rate.

According to Steve Rich, a research analyst principle at the Idaho Transportation Department, there were 28 motorcycle deaths in Idaho in 2010. That number dropped to 17 in 2011.

In the Magic Valley, which is known as ITD Region 4, three people died in motorcycle crashes in 2010 and three more in 2011, Rich said.

So far, statewide there have been three through the month of April. Another fatal motorcycle crash was reported by Idaho State Police on Tuesday near Inkom.

In contrast to Idaho’s dropping numbers, the report by the Governors Association reveals, nationwide, no progress was made in reducing motorcycle deaths in 2011. About 4,500 people died in motorcycle crashes nationwide, in 2010 and 2011, the report said.

Stacey “Ax” Axmaker, director of the Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program, said the drop suggests efforts being made in training, motorist awareness and riding sober are working.

Axmaker said the STAR program will continue to offer skill training for riders of all levels, increasing motorcycle awareness and encouraging riders to wear protective gear.

STAR training has been associated with a 79 percent reduced crash risk while riding a motorcycle in Idaho, according to a statement by the group. The study, which looked at all 7,738 motorcycle crashes in Idaho from 1996 to 2010, also found an 89 percent reduction in the risk of a fatal motorcycle crash.

According to Axmaker, men older than 40 on cruisers and touring bikes were more likely to be in crashes than young riders on sport bikes.

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