ITD reminds riders, motorists to be alert,
responsible and 'Share the Road'

Warming temperatures and rising gasoline prices are luring more drivers of motorcycles and scooters onto Idaho highways, so ITD has joined with motorcycle safety advocates statewide to encourage all drivers and riders to safely “Share the Road.”

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and ITD is partnering with the Idaho STAR program, Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety, the Idaho State Police and law enforcement agencies to remind everyone to be extra alert and cautious when driving or riding to help keep everyone safe on Idaho highways.

Because of their smaller size, motorcycles and scooters are not easily seen and can be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot.

“We want motorists to know that doing simple things like being alert, obeying traffic signs, respecting other drivers and riders, and just slowing down can save your life and the lives of others,” said Cecilia Awusie, with ITD’s Office of Highway Safety.

“Sadly, we are losing more Idaho riders in crashes that don’t involve other vehicles,” she added. Idaho’s statewide Motorcycle Safety Committee recently compiled an analysis showing that within the last two years nearly 70 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes in Idaho were attributed to rider error.

However, motor vehicle drivers violating motorcyclists’ right-of-way still proved to be a significant contributing factor in the remaining fatal motorcycle crashes, according to ITD statistics. Last year, 28 motorcyclists were killed on Idaho’s roads.

Motorcycle and scooter drivers of all ages can benefit from proper instruction like the STAR motorcycle safety-training program, Awusie said.

“Motorcycle riders have responsibilities, starting with following the rules of the road,” she explained. “They need to be alert to other motor vehicle drivers and always wear a helmet and protective gear.”

Awusie offered tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on Idaho highways.

  • Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
  • Don’t tailgate. Allow more distance when following a motorcycle. Remember that in dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
  • Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals often are not self-canceling, and riders sometimes forget to turn them off.
  • Remember that road conditions considered minor annoyances to other vehicles pose major hazards to motorcyclists.

“All roadway users are encouraged to make safe, responsible driving choices,” said Awusie.

This motorcycle safety campaign is part of the ITD’s commitment to achieve a goal of zero deaths on all of Idaho’s highways.

Published 4-29-2011