► Motorcycle News 2010
2010 Motorcycle Safety Studies
Photo: zabrowarny (Poland).
Edited by webBikeWorld.com
New Motorcycle Safety
Motorcycles With ABS Are Safer
▪ Helmets Save Lives
Motorcycle Training Does Not Reduce Crash Rate
Motorcycle Safety Page |
April 6, 2010 - The Highway Loss Data Institute, an
affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
in the U.S.A., has released a series of reports on
motorcycle safety (see below).
The studies include a report on accident results for
motorcycles equipped with anti-lock brakes vs.
motorcycles with non-ABS brakes; a report that compares
motorcycle accident insurance claims in states with vs.
without mandatory helmet laws; and the accident rates of
motorcyclists who have taken rider training courses vs.
those who haven't.
Motorcycle registrations increased from 4.3 million
in 2000 to 7.7 million in 2008, according to R.L. Polk &
Company data. There were more than 5,000
motorcycle rider deaths in 2008, which is more than in
any year since the federal government began collecting
fatal crash data in 1975.
The increase in motorcyclist deaths is at odds with
record low fatality rates in car crashes, which was the
motivator for the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) to
look at measures to stem motorcyclist deaths.
Eight out of 10 motorcycle crashes result in injury
or death, compared with two out of 10 car crashes,
according to the study. The HLDI says this
statistic "makes sense, because motorcycle riders donít
ride in a cocoon with crush space, seat belts and
airbags to protect them".
IIHS and HLDI
Motorcycle Safety Reports
"Effectiveness of Antilock Braking Systems in
Reducing Motorcycle Fatal Crash Rates" (Download
This study indicates that motorcycles with antilock
brakes are 37 percent less likely to be involved in
fatal crashes. Part of the reason for the
decreased fatal crash rate for ABS-equipped motorcycles
may be that older, more mature or more experienced
riders ride motorcycles equipped with anti-lock braking
"Antilock brakes for motorcycles are working as
designed to reduce the chances of crashing, removing
some of the risk that comes with riding on two wheels",
according to the study.
The study indicates that motorcycles with ABS versus
motorcycles without ABSare 37 percent less likely to be
in fatal crashes per 10,000 registered vehicle years.
HLDI researchers compared the fatal crash experience
of ABS-equipped motorcycles against their non-ABS
counterparts during 2003-08. HLDI did the same for
insurance losses for the same group of motorcycles and
they also looked at injury claims.
Under medical payment coverage, motorcycles with ABS
registered 30 percent lower claim frequencies than bikes
without this feature. Claim frequencies were 33
percent lower under bodily injury liability coverage.
A separate analysis by the HLDI of insurance claims
filed for damage to motorcycles found that motorcycles
with ABS have 22 percent fewer claims for damage per
insured vehicle year (a vehicle year is one vehicle
insured for one year, 2 insured for 6 months, etc.) than
the same models without ABS.
HLDI says that "One answer might be to equip more
motorcycles with (ABS)".
Anti-lock brakes are becoming popular with both
manufacturers and riders. More than half of
motorcycle owners recently surveyed by the Institute
said they would get ABS on their next bike, and ABS is
currently available on 60 new models (list
of 2010 motorcycles equipped with ABS).
ABS Required on Motorcycles in the U.S.A.?
In other ABS news, the U.S. National Highway
Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) released a draft
Vehicle Safety Rulemaking and Research Priority Plan for
2009-2011 which indicated that NHTSA was planning to
require anti-lock braking systems for motorcycles in
The final plan indicated that NHTSA plans to issue
its next decision relating to braking in 2010.
They referred to the IIHS study referenced above.
At this point, NHTSA believes an additional year of
data and additional analyses are needed to determine
statistical significance of results (FMVSS #122).
The Motorcycle Industry Council and NHTSA are meeting on
an ongoing basis with NHTSA Rulemaking staff to discuss
issues surrounding advanced braking systems.
More Information: Report - "Insurance
Special Report: Motorcycle Antilock Braking System
"Helmet Use Laws and Medical Payment Injury Risk
for Motorcyclists with Collision Claims" (Download
An additional new report by HLDI underscores the
real-world benefits of helmet laws that apply to all
The analysis of insurance claims data examines the
effectiveness of universal helmet laws covering all
riders, and another looks at the impact of
state-mandated training for young riders.
Key findings include:
Motorcyclists in states
that require all riders to wear helmets are less
likely to file insurance claims for medical
treatment after collisions, compared with riders in
states without helmet laws or where the laws apply
to some but not all riders.
Helmets reduce head
injuries, and head injuries are the leading cause of
death among riders who are not wearing a helmet
during an accident.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety surveyed
1,818 motorcycle riders by telephone in 2009 to get a
picture of nationwide trends in motorcycling.
More than half of riders the Institute surveyed said
they believe ABS on motorcycles enhance braking safety,
compared with conventional brakes. Fifty-four
percent said they would get ABS on their next bike.
43 percent of the respondents said they had been in
at least one motorcycle crash. Often motorcycle
crashes are blamed on other vehicles, not riders, so it
is noteworthy that almost two-thirds of the reported
crashes involved a single vehicle, and it was the
Seventy-three percent of riders surveyed said they
always wear a helmet, and 9 percent said they often wear
one. Five percent said they never do.
Riders of sport, supersport, and sport touring bikes
were most likely to say they always wear a helmet.
Riders 18-29 and those 50 and older were more likely to
say they always wear a helmet while riding, compared
with motorcyclists in their 30s and 40s.
Fifty-seven percent of respondents who don't always
wear helmets said they would wear them if required by
state law. About half of motorcyclists surveyed
said they don't favor universal helmet laws, mainly
because they want to choose for themselves. Still,
76 percent said helmets make riders safer.
More Information: "Role of Motorcycle
Type in Fatal Motorcycle Crashes" (Download
"Motorcycle Collision Coverage Claims in States
with Required Motorcycle Rider Training" (Download
This report by IIHS found a very interesting statistic:
the frequency of insurance collision claims for riders
younger than 21 is 10 percent higher in states that
require riders this age to take a training course before
they become eligible for a license to drive a motorcycle,
compared with states that don't require training.
Although this difference isn't statistically
significant, it contradicts the notion that training
courses reduce crashes.
A potential explanation is that riders in some states,
riders are fully licensed once they finish training.
This might shorten the permit period so that riders end
up with full licenses earlier than if training weren't
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