USDOT: NHTSA: MSF Motorcycle Safety Foundation Logo
Human Factors: Crash Avoidance Skills Table of ContentsHomenhtsa

Motorcyclist Attitudes

Rider Education & Training


Crash Avoidance Skills

Motorcyclist Alcohol & Other Impairment

Personal Protective Equipment


The Hurt Report identified prevalent skills absent among crash-involved riders as braking, cornering, and swerving. It is unknown if the lack of the skills for effective braking, cornering, and swerving continues to be over-represented in crash data, or if other deficiencies or behaviors play larger roles in today’s crashes.

While there has been research on individual safety concerns, no other comparable, extensive crash study has been conducted since the Hurt Report (see The Need for Research, page 7). No national data exist concerning the effect of rider training (see Rider Education & Training, page 17) and other changes that might affect rider crash avoidance skills. Motorcycle design and performance have changed and improved significantly (see Motorcycle Design, see page 43). These changes may affect crash avoidance. No data exist to determine if engineering improvements are effective at reducing crashes.

Rider training programs focus on developing high-priority skills: braking,cornering,and swerving. Post-training testing is conducted to measure the acceptable application of these skills at speeds from 12 to 20 mph.Most state licensing examinations test for these skills using similar testing instruments and methods. Current rider training programs also focus on developing mental strategies for anticipating and dealing with hazards.


Identify the critical skills for avoiding motorcycle crashes and how those skills are acquired.

Focus training programs and licensing systems on high priority crash avoidance skills and adapt as safety needs and issues arise.

Increase the portion of riders taking advantage of training opportunities to learn crash avoidance skills and continue to enhance those skills through practice.

Safety countermeasures in effect today need to be evaluated for effectiveness. Research should investigate various aspects of the crash avoidance skills picture to determine if new countermeasures are needed and the effects of technological changes. In addition, certain technologies or configurations may be shown to be superior for crash avoidance and should be used more widely.

Motorcycle safety programs should be evaluated to determine how effectively they teach critical crash avoidance skills and strategies. In addition, the programs should be responsive to the changing needs of the rider.

Evaluation of crash avoidance skills training should include the following elements:

• Braking effectiveness in real-world traffic situations with the various existing and future braking systems

• Cornering skills and strategies on the road

• Swerving effectiveness on the road

• Development of essential mental strategies for safe riding judgment, including visual directional control and an active hazard search, and anticipation process

• Other crash avoidance skills as identified by research

To determine if further countermeasures are needed, a study should be conducted on the feasibility, effectiveness, and practicality of using motorcycle simulators to develop crash avoidance skills and strategies (Awane, 1999).


• Conduct research to determine which rider crash avoidance skills are most important.

• Develop countermeasures in training, license testing, and motorcycle technology to address any current crash avoidance deficiencies.

• Evaluate effectiveness of rider education and training in developing crash avoidance skills.

• Evaluate the need for motorcycle simulator skills training.

• Examine technological approaches such as pre-crash warning and avoidance systems to enhance crash prevention.

MSF Motorcycle Safety Foundation Logo USDOT: NHTSA BACK TO TOP