Report suggests motorcycle collisions analysts are ‘looking the wrong way’

A new report challenges the assumption that there is a link between the speed a motorcycle is travelling at, and the severity of the injuries to the rider, in the event of a collision.

The report, based on the findings of a survey of almost 1,600 riders from 30 countries who had been involved in a collision in the last decade, is authored by a team of four researchers from across the globe – including Dr Elaine Hardy from the UK.

It found that the speed of the motorcycle when it crashes with another vehicle, road infrastructure or other object ‘does not necessarily determine the severity of the injuries of the motorcyclist’.

Instead, the report concludes that ‘the mechanism of the crash (the trajectory of the rider post-crash) has far more importance than speed in terms of the type and the severity of injuries’ – before going on to describe the correlation between speed and the seriousness of injuries as ‘random’

The researchers say the survey findings suggest that ‘orthodox motorcycle accident analysis appears to be looking the wrong way’, in typically identifying human error as the major cause of collisions involving motorcyclists. 

Elaine Hardy said: “The riders who replied to the survey came from a varied age range, motorcycling experience, as well as depth of skills and training.

“The new research presented in the report, most importantly involved riders bringing their personal experience and their expertise beyond that of simple academia.  

“Riders understand motorcycling in a way quite different than that of academia, where statistical analyses of large databases such as police reports and hospital records has displaced research that requires in depth crash scene investigative knowledge.

“The riders’ crash details which were provided through the responses to the questions as well as the comments they offered, brought those stories of personal experiences which included treatment of their injuries, pillion riders and the dynamics of their crash, that in their own words allowed a deeper insight into the dynamics of crashes and the circumstances.”

04 March 2020

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