The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Motorcycle Safety Program

January 2003










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NHTSA's FARS data provide information on who is involved in motorcycle crashes, but it does not provide information on why a motorcyclist becomes crash involved. Collecting and analyzing data on rider education and training, licensing, length of time riding a motorcycle and specific attributes of the motorcycle being operated, riding habits alone or in a group, and other similar data are key to answering this fundamental question to assist in crash prevention. NHTSA's research efforts will also try to resolve questions surrounding the medical outcomes of crash involved motorcyclists including short and long term effects and the costs of rehabilitation for injured operators.

NHTSA's Research and Data Collection Efforts Program:

    arrow Conduct Research to Determine Motorcycle Operator Characteristics. The agency will undertake research to determine the characteristics of motorcycle operators in today's general rider population and, to the extent possible, the characteristics, behaviors, and experiences associated with motorcyclists who become involved in a crash. Data to be collected include biographic and demographic characteristics, riding habits, rider training, and licensing status. Ultimately, the collection and analysis of these data, when combined with other information, should enable NHTSA to improve the types of countermeasures developed for reducing the occurrence of injury producing crashes. Targeted completion date March 2004

    arrow Study of Rehabilitation Costs Associated with Motorcycle Crash Related Injuries. Data are needed on rehabilitation costs of injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes. NHTSA is examining the rehabilitation costs associated with injuries received as a result of motorcycle crashes to provide a more complete picture of costs associated with motorcycle crashes. One of the products of this project is a model for estimating rehabilitation costs resulting from motorcycle crashes and adapting this model so that it can be applied to all motor vehicle crashes. Targeted completion date December 2004

    arrow Study Crash Risk. The current status of situational and behavioral errors or factors associated with motorcycle crashes remains unknown. Also, crash risk and riding behaviors for different target groups need to be examined further. The findings from this study will be compared with databases containing information for motorcyclists who are involved in crashes, especially those who are 40 years of age and older, due to their increasing involvement in crashes. Targeted completion date March 2005

    arrow Conduct a Vehicle Crash Causation Study Including Motorcycle Crashes. NHTSA is considering an update to its previous motor vehicle crash causation study, the 1979 Indiana Tri-Level Causal Analyses study. The agency plans to collect crash causation data on motorcycles as part of this study. This research will assist NHTSA in addressing a number of critical safety questions including "why" there has been a substantial increase in motorcycle crashes and operator fatalities especially among riders 40 and over, as well as the growing popularity of larger motorcycles and their increased involvement in crashes. An updated motor vehicle crash causation study will aid NHTSA researchers in identifying and creating new initiatives for their crash avoidance and countermeasures programs. Targeted completion date September 2009.