USDOT: NHTSA: MSF Motorcycle Safety Foundation Logo
Environmental Factors: Other Vehicle Design Table of ContentsHomenhtsa

Roadway Characteristics

Other Vehicle Design

First Response

Intelligent Transportation Systems


The design of other vehicles plays a role in motorcycle safety. For example, mirror design may compromise visibility. Vehicle height may obscure a motorcyclist’s ability to survey the surrounding traffic environment.

There is little effort to design or test other vehicles to increase motorcyclist safety.

There are increasing numbers of tall vehicles on the road. Tall vehicles obscure a motorcyclist’s view of the environment and surrounding traffic. They also obscure other drivers’ views of motorcycles. In a collision with a tall vehicle, a motorcyclist is less likely to vault over the vehicle after the collision than in a collision with a lower vehicle.

Blind spots on automobiles and trucks make it harder for drivers to see motorcyclists. Mirror design may compromise the ability of drivers to detect motorcycles.

The design of other vehicles as it pertains to injury agents also affects motorcycles when a crash occurs.

DRL on automobiles may reduce the effectiveness of operating motorcycles’ headlights during the day as a conspicuity measure.

The spray from vehicles, especially heavy trucks, on wet roads may adversely affect a motorcyclist’s vision.


We want consideration for motorcycles to be incorporated into the design of other vehicles.

We would like motorcyclists to be aware of how other vehicle design may affect their safety and adjust riding strategies accordingly.


Undertake crash investigation research to determine which elements of other vehicle design adversely affect motorcycle safety.

Encourage other vehicle designers to research and consider how a specific vehicle design may affect motorcycles and their riders.


• Educate motorcyclists about strategies to overcome the challenges that the designs of other vehicles create in the traffic environment.

• Emphasize motorcycle safety issues as a consideration in the design of other vehicles.

• Investigate how the designs of other vehicles affect motorcycle safety.

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