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Discussion Starter #1
What Virginia Tech learned about how and why we crash our motorcycles

What do you learn if you pick 100 riders, put five video cameras and data-logging equipment on their motorcycles and record them for a total of 366,667 miles?

Several things, some of which we knew, some surprising. Intersections are dangerous. We either need to pay better attention or work on our braking techniques, because we crash into the back of other vehicles way too often. We’re not good enough at cornering, especially right turns. And we drop our bikes a lot (probably more often than any of us imagined or were willing to admit).
Good article from Revzilla's Common Thread to read.

Chris
 

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It would also be nice to see percentage by categories. Cruisers, crotch rockets, dual sport, touring, scooter etc.

Also by age and experience even though those are two different categories.

Funny they don't mention excessive speed as a contributing factor. But that is probably aggressive riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
One of the things I noticed is the largest category of accidents are of the motorcyclists rear-ending the car in front of them.

Yet, how many threads are there on adding additional brake lights? And now, not just getting additional brake lights, but ones that come on when you slow down? We keep thinking we'll be hit in the rear...but it is far more likely, we will hit someone else in the rear.

I see riders on the road and notice that while I'm keeping a 3-4 second space between myself and the car ahead of me, the other riders are about half a second off the rear bumper of the car in front of them. On the freeway, they are less than a car length behind. And the same holds true on side roads. We're on powerful bikes with great brakes and we are feeling extremely free and invincible. But we're not.

The other thing I see is riders wanting to install the biggest, baddest loudest horn that won't stop their bike from the current draw when they use it. :D That makes no sense in an accident avoidance role. You see the potential accident coming...you press the horn button...bike stutters from the current draw and wants to stall ;) ...you wait now to see if the offending driver heard you...if not, you use it again...other driver notices you finally and reacts as you want them to do...and you pass by unscathed. That all takes a lot of time, and you could easily have just maneuvered to avoid the situation entirely...which you'll have to do if they don't react as you expect. Let's be honest with each other. The horn isn't there for safety reasons...it's there for retribution and revenge. ;)

If we are the biggest cause of our accidents in rear-ending other drivers...we need to look at ourselves, and not at the other guy.

Chris
 

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ima partly disagree on the horn thing, i have hit the horn as a vehicle tried to merge into me and the cage snatched back into it's lane, i was also grindin the binders and talkin loud about their single parent and said parents sexual preference in farm animals.

i was glad to see refreshing beverages caused no problems.
 

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I see riders on the road and notice that while I'm keeping a 3-4 second space between myself and the car ahead of me, the other riders are about half a second off the rear bumper of the car in front of them.
Sounds like a wise move to me.

In the U.K. we had a safety campaign around the phrase “only a fool breaks the 2 second rule” which takes about 2 seconds to say - so if you can’t say that between the vehicle in front passing a marker on the road and you reaching that marker you are too close.

I also agree that most of us blame “the other guy” as if we are a separate group that doesn’t ever make a mistake or reads a situation wrong - we are never “the other guy”. Allow for the idiots, allow for yourself being the idiot and remember the only road user you can change is you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
ima partly disagree on the horn thing, i have hit the horn as a vehicle tried to merge into me and the cage snatched back into it's lane, i was also grindin the binders...
I also agree with many others that the horns on scooters, motorcycles and cars seem incredibly weak. But my personal experience tells me that it isn't as bad as we think it is. The time that convinced me was when a woman was merging from I-405 into I-5 and coming into my lane. It was winter with the rain coming down (and additional noise from the water) and her windows were up. I hit the horn and she almost immediately reacted. Maybe it is because of the direction the horn is aimed? Like it seems louder to others, more than to us on the seat?

I go on international mission trips. When I was in the Philippines, it was interesting to note how they used their horns. Traffic was worse than anything you can imagine in the USA, and horns were used constantly. Yet the horns weren't used like in the USA. They were used simply as a polite way of saying, "I've moved into your blind spot."

When I was in Thailand, the traffic was just as bad. But I think I only heard a horn maybe two or three times in a couple weeks. People were just polite to each other, and let others in. Like I heard in a military course I took, "Cooperate and graduate".


I like how you added, "i was also grindin the binders".

In the last 180,000 miles, I've hit my brakes hard maybe 7 times. Once was for the GEICO squirrel. Another was for Bambi's auntie. And I can't remember when I used my horn last. Dave_J and Tromper will confirm that we ride in some of the worst traffic in the USA.

Chris
 
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What Virginia Tech learned about how and why we crash our motorcycles
Good article from Revzilla's Common Thread to read.

Chris
It is a good read but in my opinion, not nearly accurate enough to be considered as real data. 100 riders in four states does not comprise a true cross section of riders around the US. I think it maybe at best being just a small sampling but necessarily a cross section of riders. The total number of miles used in this study does not amount to many miles being covered by each rider for data collection. As a life long rider the things mentioned are not surprises. Inexperience, aggression and location are factors in too many crashes. I agree, it was good article but only scratches the surface of information related to motorcycle crashes.
 

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It is a good read but in my opinion, not nearly accurate enough to be considered as real data. 100 riders in four states does not comprise a true cross section of riders around the US.
While I agree the sample size was too small to be statistically significant, it is a far cry from the methodology of the Hurt report. The Hurt report has been used to form safety rules and training for decades. Time for some better data gathering.

Robert Carr
 

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Additional data from European studies:


MAIDS:
(Motorcycle Accidents In Depth Study, ACEM/European Comission study)

http://www.maids-study.eu
(Public version, there is more available for researchers)


FEMA study, Motorcycle Safety and Accidents in Europe 2016

http://motorcycleminds.org/virtuallibrary/ridersafety/motorcycle_safety_and_accidents_europe_hdb_050816.pdf

Comparative study of OTS (UK) and MAIDS (Europe):
http://www.maids-study.eu/pdf/OTS_MAIDS_comparison.pdf

Passion, performance, practicality: motorcyclists' motivations and attitudes to safety, Christmas et al. Transport Research Laboratory
(How bikers attitude/culture toward motorcycling affects safety)
https://trl.co.uk/sites/default/files/PPR442.pdf
 

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While I agree the sample size was too small to be statistically significant, it is a far cry from the methodology of the Hurt report. The Hurt report has been used to form safety rules and training for decades. Time for some better data gathering.

Robert Carr
I agree completely. I have seen references to the Hurt Report for many years. At the time it was made, it was the best there was. Due to the many changes in demographics and other factors it is not really relevant for today's riders or for use as anything other than a historical reference. With the increased numbers of motorcycles and much broader spectrum of riders today, there should be a concerted effort to study relevant and available data about crashes and factors contributing to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I looked at the report, much like I do reports of accidents. Does this apply to me? What can I learn from it, and apply to my own riding habits?

If it was a sample size of 1000, would it make any difference? How many would it require before it became statistically relevant? 10,000? 100,000? And when do you think a study with that many riders would ever be financed?

I learn something from reading about a single motorcycle accident. What happened? What was the cause? --- And am I guilty of the same behavior? That's a sample size of one.

I'm stuck up here in the far northwestern portion of the 48 contiguous states in the USA. I've ridden with guys from Arizona, New Mexico, California and Alberta. I haven't found any differences between us, except the Canadians have a slight difference in the pronunciation of certain words. Just as we say we share a common bond in riding, I think I'm not much different from the riders in that four state sample size.

Bottom line, I wouldn't be so quick to blow off the results of the study.

Chris
 
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I looked at the report, much like I do reports of accidents. Does this apply to me? What can I learn from it, and apply to my own riding habits?

If it was a sample size of 1000, would it make any difference? How many would it require before it became statistically relevant? 10,000? 100,000? And when do you think a study with that many riders would ever be financed?

I learn something from reading about a single motorcycle accident. What happened? What was the cause? --- And am I guilty of the same behavior? That's a sample size of one.

I'm stuck up here in the far northwestern portion of the 48 contiguous states in the USA. I've ridden with guys from Arizona, New Mexico, California and Alberta. I haven't found any differences between us, except the Canadians have a slight difference in the pronunciation of certain words. Just as we say we share a common bond in riding, I think I'm not much different from the riders in that four state sample size.

Bottom line, I wouldn't be so quick to blow off the results of the study.

Chris
Precisely my point. That study did point out things many of us already knew. Only monitoring 100 out of all the possible riders riders made it statistically insignificant as far as being a source for new information. As said, it did support many things that are fairly common knowledge. What you had written is the problem with doing a study today. Who is paying for it? Can it be large enough to encompass the required cross section to try to determine an average for anything? Or are the subjects hand picked to support an already established position? (sort of like the public opinion polls we see broadcast by some of the media outlets) I agree with you. With the plethora of instantaneous news and information, there are things to be learned using actual crash data that is fairly readily available. As a long time rider I try to learn from what I see and not be the subject of any crash study if at all possible. The article was a good read and should be refresher for many of us so we do not get complacent in our skills.
 

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The thing I take from these studies is polish your riding skills and don't over ride those limits.

<< Don't be a Crash Bike Dummy. That job is already taken.
 

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For example, neither report touches on the aspect of conspicuousity. Black leathers on a black bike with a miniscule tail light and the headlight on dim. Any wonder the cage didn't see him?

I have a screaming yellow zonker helmet, fire engine red jacket and enough lights to be seen from space. I think stacking the odds in your favor helps. Of course, if the other guy has his head up and locked, you have to be prepared for that as well.

Robert Carr
 

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In the mid-nineties, a railroad safety study determined that a leading cause of accidents by collision involving railroad locomotives and automobiles was the result of the lack of proper “lighting perspective”. Automobile drivers said they “didn’t see the train coming". (sound familiar)
Before this safety study, railroad locomotives only had one headlight. The study recommended to add two “auxiliary lights” to enhance the headlight and forming a triangular light pattern. The objective was to create a better visual perspective to be seen. The result of the recommended action dramatically reduced the number of locomotive accidents involving automobiles over the next several years.
I believe if we apply the same "lighting perspective" principal to motorcycles, scooters, etc., by adding auxiliary lights with the headlight we will improve our chances of being seen by “cagers” and hopefully reduce our chances of an accident with an automobile or truck.
 

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I believe if we apply the same "lighting perspective" principal to motorcycles, scooters, etc., by adding auxiliary lights with the headlight we will improve our chances of being seen by “cagers” and hopefully reduce our chances of an accident with an automobile or truck.
I agree completely. I took a Ride Safe course with a local LEO. He said "I want to look like a train coming down the street." I've got 2 low mounted driving lights to give the triangular aspect, a modulator on the headlight. If I could get away with it, I'd put a wig-wag controller on the driving lights.

Robert Carr
Stem NC
 

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In the mid-nineties, a railroad safety study determined that a leading cause of accidents by collision involving railroad locomotives and automobiles .
Amtrak, when confronted with the prospect of installing a seat belt for the engineer in case of a collision, decided instead to build a steel box (called the coffin) behind the engineer's seat. In case of impending crash, he is supposed to get into the box. I can't provide a source for this story, but I hope it's true. :)

Robert Carr
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At the end of the day give more time (meaning more space) between you and the vehicle you are following and you will save a life (Yours). You bascially get there in the same amount of time anyway so why push it by just one or two seconds. I watched a fellow run into the back of a van and it wasn't pretty. Once he realized the van was stopping he acted rapidly but there was just not enough space or time between him and the van in front of him.
 

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In the mid-nineties, a railroad safety study determined that a leading cause of accidents by collision involving railroad locomotives and automobiles was the result of the lack of proper “lighting perspective”. Automobile drivers said they “didn’t see the train coming". (sound familiar)
Before this safety study, railroad locomotives only had one headlight. The study recommended to add two “auxiliary lights” to enhance the headlight and forming a triangular light pattern. The objective was to create a better visual perspective to be seen. The result of the recommended action dramatically reduced the number of locomotive accidents involving automobiles over the next several years.
That's all well and good , but they still don't have turn signals!
 
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