The National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety (NAMS) is a comprehensive plan to improve United States motorcycle safety in the 21st century. The NAMS was developed by a Technical Working Group of experts representing all constituencies involved in motorcycle safety, led by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and published in November 2000. Its 82 individual recommendations address the full range of topics and strategies relevant to motorcycle safety: human, vehicle, environmental, and social factors to prevent crashes, reduce injuries in crashes, and care for persons injured in crashes. The NAMS is available at or Appendix A of this guide lists the 82 NAMS recommendations in the order they appear in the NAMS.

Approximately half the NAMS recommendations are directed to States and communities. These NAMS recommendations provide overall goals and general methods for achieving these goals but do not suggest specific action steps. This guide attempts to fill this gap. Its purpose is to help State and community organizations improve motorcycle safety by implementing relevant NAMS recommendations.

The guide does not address the other half of the NAMS recommendations that are directed primarily to national agencies or organizations, including recommendations regarding research, program evaluation, data collection, regulation, motorcycle design and manufacture, and motorcycle operator insurance. These recommendations are critical. In particular, better data on motorcycle crashes and good current research on motorcycle crash causes, injury mechanisms, and potential countermeasures are crucial to reducing crashes and injuries. States and communities should not be expected to take the lead in implementing these recommendations.

Appendix B of this guide groups all 82 NAMS recommendations first by the audience to which they are directed and then by broad topic. Section A (States, communities, and rider groups) lists the recommendations included in this guide. Sections B through D list the recommendations directed to Federal agencies, motorcycle manufacturers, and insurance companies, respectively.

Organization and contents

The guide is organized into seven sections determined by the NAMS recommendations. Each section begins with a brief overview discussion and a single overall objective. Several strategies for achieving this objective, taken from the NAMS recommendations, are then listed. For each strategy, the guide lists potential action steps to implement the strategy: what could be done and who could do it. Then come promising practices: examples from States and communities that already are taking action to implement this strategy, with brief descriptions and contact information. The guide does not attempt to report every activity of every State or organization, especially when many States or organizations conduct similar activities. Each strategy concludes with resources and supporting activities: materials and other assistance for this strategy available to States and communities, again with contact information. The Table of Contents lists the seven sections and the individual strategies for each section.

Web links, contacts, and references

When possible, Web links and contact information are given for the promising practices, resources, and supporting activities. The NAMS itself is the primary reference for the entire guide. A few key references are provided for each section. Several general references covering more than one section are listed at the end of the Overview.


The guide’s primary audiences are State and community organizations concerned with motorcycle safety. These include:

  • State highway safety offices;

  • State agencies that license and train motorcycle operators and that register motorcycles;

  • State and community law enforcement agencies;

  • State and community motorcycle rider organizations, including chapters of ABATE, Gold Wing, and H.O.G.; and

  • Motorcycle dealers and State motorcycle dealer organizations.

The guide provides a menu, not a recipe, for reducing motorcycle crashes and injuries. Each State and community must evaluate its own motorcycle safety issues and must decide which NAMS recommendations may help address these issues. The guide should help each State and community assess the range of potential strategies, investigate how these have been implemented through the promising practice examples, develop its own strategies and action plan, and acquire resources and other support for strategies it chooses to implement.

The guide’s secondary audiences are national organizations that support or assist the activities of State and community organizations. These include:

  • Federal government agencies, especially NHTSA;

  • The Motorcycle Safety Foundation;

  • Motorcycle manufacturers and the Motorcycle Industry Council;

  • National motorcycle rider organizations, including the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA);

  • National organizations and associations representing State agencies and other constituencies concerned with motorcycle safety, including the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA), the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the National Sheriff’s Association (NSA), and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA); and

  • Other national agencies, corporations, and organizations that may be able to assist some State and community motorcycle safety activities, such as organizations concerned with alcohol impairment or with driver training.

The resources and supporting activities sections for each strategy list some ways in which these organizations already support State and community motorcycle safety. This should help connect organizations offering support with States and communities who seek it. The objectives and strategies in this guide may prompt national organizations to consider other supporting activities.

Acknowledgments and disclaimers

This guide could not have been prepared without the help of many people.

  • The NAMS itself, the working group that prepared it, and sponsors MSF and NHTSA, laid the foundation upon which this guide builds.

  • A broad advisory panel assisted in developing the guide by defining topics and strategies, suggesting action steps, providing examples of promising practices, and reviewing drafts. Appendix C lists the panel members and their organizations, all of whom gave unqualified support.

  • NHTSA conceived and funded the project. The NHTSA regional offices also reviewed the topics and strategies and provided many promising practice examples. Special thanks go to project monitors Marietta Bowen and Michael Jordan and to Diane Wigle, chief of the Safety Countermeasures Division.

All statements, judgments, errors, and omissions are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Advisory Panel, the panelists’ organizations, or NHTSA.

User comments and suggestions

If this guide is useful, NHTSA will consider revising, updating, and expanding it periodically. Readers and users are invited to provide their suggestions and recommendations, especially additional examples of promising practices. Please send your suggestions and recommendations to:

            Michael Jordan
            Safety Countermeasures Division, NTI-121
            400 Seventh Street SW., Room 5119
            Washington, DC 20590

            or by e-mail to