Kenneth Olsen, a Homedale High School math teacher, was the 16th motorcyclist killed on Idaho roads this year.
On Monday, Olsen was riding a Honda motorcycle on State Highway 19 when he was hit by a Ford Ranger pulling out of the Simplot parking lot. The impact knocked Olsen off the motorcycle, and he died at the scene.
Olsen himself graduated from Homedale and taught math there for 21 years, Homedale High School Principal Matthew Holtry told KTVB.
“He cared about every kid, I think anybody, and every student would all tell you they knew he cared about them and that he wanted to help them,” Holtry told KTVB Tuesday. “He never gave up on anybody and was always willing to work with any student who wanted to learn.”
School leaders plan to hold an event honoring his life; the details are still being worked out.
On top of being passionate about his students, Olsen also loved riding his motorcycle.
“He loved his motorcycle, any day that was nice, he would ride it and tell us about it,” Holtry told KTVB. “Whenever it got cold, he was always numbering his days — ‘I think I got a couple more days I can ride my bike’ — so he was passionate about it and he loved it.”
Olsen’s death came during an Idaho Transportation Department’s campaign on raising awareness of motorcycles on roadways. The motto “Drive Nice, Look Twice” encourages drivers to look twice for motorcycles, which are harder to see in blind spots and during bad weather. The campaign is scheduled to run through Sept. 1.
Sixteen motorcyclists have been killed on Idaho roads this year as of Aug. 13, compared to 24 during the same time frame in 2018, according to the Idaho Office of Highway Safety. In all of 2018, 38 motorcyclists were killed in Idaho crashes.