Federal Government To Study Motorcycle Crash Causation

The last time a study of this kind was conducted was in 1981. The Hurt Report, produced some very telling information. Feel free to read the entire report, it is comprehensive and very interesting. In summary, alcohol was involved in over half of the fatalities, the motorcycle riders involved in accidents were essentially without
training; 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends, and sixty percent of the motorcyclists were not wearing safety helmets at the time of the accident.
I am going to go ahead and predict that the results of the new study
will be very similar. Motorcycle technology has changed since the 80's,
but people have not. I think the Feds should take the 2.8 million
dollars they will spend on the the study, give it and more to the state motorcycle programs that are already in place, and just make motorcycle
training mandatory. Motorcycle training has proven to reduce motorcycle
fatalities. The military motorcycle safety project that I am involved
in right now was able to reduce motorcycle fatalities in the Navy by
61% in just over one year. This was a result of making motorcycle courses
mandatory for military personnel who own and ride them for recreation.
Don't get me wrong, I am really happy that motorcyclists are getting
attention form the government, but it is no secret that
training/education and proper protective gear is very very effective in
reducing motorcycle related fatalities.

From a press release issued by the U.S.
Department of Transportation...

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Federal
Highway Administration will conduct an ambitious new study to better understand
and prevent motorcycle crashes, Administrator Victor Mendez announced today.

Despite years of steadily improving
highway safety and roadway fatalities at historic lows, motorcycle riders
remain one of the highest-risk groups on America's roads. Nearly 5,300
motorcycle riders died in roadway crashes in 2008, accounting for 14 percent of
all traffic fatalities, and 96,000 were injured.

"Having a better understanding of
what causes these crashes will help us improve roadway safety for everyone,"
said Administrator Mendez. "Keeping people safe on America's roads is Secretary
LaHood's top priority at the Department of Transportation."

The motorcycle crash causation study
will be the federal government's first major in-depth analysis of motorcycle
safety in nearly three decades. A provision in the "Safe, Accountable,
Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users" (SAFETEA-LU)
requires the study, which will be conducted by the FHWA in partnership with the
Oklahoma State University.

The university's Oklahoma
Transportation Center is one of the U.S. Department of Transportation's 10
National University Transportation Centers, and it receives federal grants to
conduct transportation research.

"OSU is delighted to be the lead
research institution for this important study," said Dr. Alan Tree, associate
dean for research in OSU's College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.
"We expect very significant, scientifically valid results to emerge from this
work and look forward to a very positive final outcome."

Researchers will evaluate data from
hundreds of motorcycle crashes to help identify common factors - including road
configurations, environmental conditions and rider experience. The study's
focus is to look at how these factors may be affected by countermeasures that,
if effectively implemented, will prevent motorcycle crashes or lessen the harm when
they occur.

The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration conducted a pilot study to develop the protocols for the
full-scale causation research. NHTSA also was responsible for the earlier
motorcycle causation study, which was completed in 1981.

Between 1997 and 2008, motorcycle rider
fatalities increased from 2,116 to 5,290 -- a 150 percent jump, according to
U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting

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