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Idaho motorcyclist deaths down nearly 50-percent

There are new numbers from a state highway safety association show good news for motorcylists.

The number of motorcycle crash-related deaths is declining.

For Bonneville County Choppers owner Michael Martinez, safety is a focus year-round.

“A lot of times it takes somebody getting in a wreck and passing away for people to open up their eyes and be a little more safe,” he said.

Martinez said sometimes a biker’s worst enemy can be their attitude.

“Guys that have ridden for a long time start to get lazy, and slack on their skills, and it’s always recommended that you go back and freshen up,” he said.
Martinez said the biking community in eastern Idaho is tight-knit, and news travels fast.

“If someone gets injured everybody knows about it,” said Martinez.
But biker deaths seem to be on the decline in Idaho. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, the latest numbers show only 17 deaths in 2011, compared to 28 in 2010. It represents an almost 50-percent decline in deaths.

“If you see a motorcycle, be aware that it’s coming toward you,” said Idaho State Police corporal Peter Sibus.

Sibus said, despite the improvement, there’s no reason to relax on the road.

“(Motorcycles) are very easy to hide behind the A-post of your car,” he said. “A semi can hide behind (the A-post), let alone a motorcycle cause they’re so small.”
Martinez said bikers need to watch out, too.

“I focus more on the people driving the cars,” he said. “I’m scanning, all the time, my surroundings.”

Nationwide, motorcycle crash deaths have remained steady at about 4,500 per year according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.

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