Road Safety – What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents? –

What are the causes of motorcycle accidents ?

Road Safety - What Are the Causes of Motorcycle Accidents? -

Faced with the current single thought, a salutary survey carried out on the initiative of European manufacturers shows that the causes of motorcycle accidents are not always what we think … Results and analyzes.

For the first time in Europe, an in-depth investigation into motorcycle accidents launched at the initiative of the manufacturers themselves provides a real database of motorized two-wheeler accidents. Carried out over two years in five countries in collaboration with the European Commission and user associations, the MAIDS study should allow "the development and implementation of new road safety measures".

MAIDS : In-depth Investigation of Motorcycle Accidents.

ACEM : Association of European Motorcycle Manufacturers.

Partners : European Commission, Federation of European Motorcycle Associations (FEMA), International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), British Motorcycling Federation (BMF) and International Commission for Driving Examinations (CIECA).

"In an accident we usually know when it took place, who is involved and in some cases how it happened, but the "why" is never discussed.", regrets Jacques Campagne, secretary general of ACEM, presenting the MAIDS study this morning in Paris:"hence the interest of these results because the authorities, including Mr. Heitz here, need a database on the main causes of motorcycle accidents".

A big investigative work which shows that the manufacturers, directly concerned in the more or less long term by the somewhat systematic blacklisting of motorized two-wheelers – these "bad students of road safety"invited to"join the camp of peaceful driving", as Gilles de Robien and Remy Heitz like to remind you – finally seem determined not to be trampled on market share without doing anything…

The data

Place of investigation : in each country (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain), the test area had to include urban and rural areas. In France, the department of Essonne was chosen because of its both rural and urban character..

Duration of the investigation : 2 years (1999-2000).

Number of accidents studied : 921 including 103 fatalities (11.2%).

Methodology. Developed by the OECD and common to the five countries, the methodology applied by the MAIDS study is based on the complete reconstruction of each accident, the inspection of vehicles, the hearing of witnesses, the collection of medical data and access to procedural documents.

Exposure to risk. Once all the data was collected, it was entered into a database for each test region and compared to the risk exposure data. "Statistical analyzes made it possible to identify risk factors by comparing data from accident cases with data from control cases", specify the authors:"for example, data indicates that although scooters are involved in the majority of crashes, they are not over-represented in proportion to their presence in the test region (i.e. their exposure to risk)".

The results

The analysis of the data makes it possible to establish several types of factors that caused the accident: human factors, very largely in the majority (87.5%), technical factors, extremely rare (0.7%), environmental factors ( 7.7%) and various failures (4.1%).

Errare humanum is. 50% of accidents between a motorized two-wheeler and a car are due to an error by the motorist (who in 70% of cases simply did not see the two-wheeler) while in 37% of cases the The error is attributable to the driver of the motorized two-wheeler himself. A deficit in the visibility of two-wheelers which risks further increasing with the generalization of the lighting of fires in all vehicles, but which does not seem to disturb Remy Heitz, still convinced that "everyone wins if everyone is better seen".

Speed. "Real false" surprise for some, simple confirmation for others: if it is undeniably an aggravating factor in the event of a fall, speed does not appear to be a determining factor in motorcycle accidents. In 75% of cases, the speed of movement of the two-wheeler at the time of impact was in fact equal to or less than 50 km / h, including 1.5% with a speed of 0 km / h (shocks by the back). "Speeding only contributed to the accident in a few isolated cases", confirms the study which shows that only 5.4% of accidents were caused by a two-wheeler speed greater than or equal to 100 km / h.

What seriously relativize the discourse "security" of the supporters of automatic radars, who by dint of pretending to believe that speed is the main cause of accidents, may succeed in convincing a significant part of the population….

Avoidance. 71.2% of motorized two-wheelers attempted an avoidance maneuver immediately before the impact, but 32% of them did not succeed and lost control of their machine during the maneuver. You said training ?

Urban. 72.3% of accidents take place in urban areas against 24.9% in rural areas and 2.8% in areas "other". All areas combined, the two-wheeler hits a car in 60% of cases, bitumen in 9% of cases, a truck, van or bus in 8.4% of cases, a fixed object in 8% of cases. cases and another two-wheeler in 6.9% of cases.

Safety barriers. The famous "guillotine slides" caused injuries to the driver of a two-wheeler in 6% of cases. A relatively low risk which should not however be ignored.

Categories. Contrary to certain received ideas, no category is seriously over-represented in motorized two-wheeler accidents: scooters are overwhelmingly involved due to their large number (354 accidents), but reduced to their exposure to risk (349). are only very slightly over-represented. Ditto for sportswomen, slightly over-represented with 137 accidents for a risk exposure of 126. Sport-touring, on the other hand, are quite clearly under-represented with only 76 accidents for a risk exposure of 110.

Displacements. Here again, no displacement is particularly over or under-represented: only cyclos of less than 50 cc are very slightly in excess (42.7% of accidents for a risk rate of 39.8%) while motorcycles from 750 to 1000 cc are rather under-represented (8.7% accidents for an exposure of 11.6%), as are the more than 1000 cc (6.3% of accidents for an exposure of 9, 5%).

The safest day. Due to the return of sunny days and the lack of practice during the winter, May is statistically the most dangerous month, followed by June and September.

During the week, Monday and Tuesday are the most accident-prone days while Saturday is the safest day….

The first reactions

"This study is interesting and what I remember most is that we must integrate the vulnerability of motorized two-wheelers in the training of motorists.", explains the interministerial delegate for road safety Remy Heitz."The part of the human factor in the accidents is not debatable, but on the speed I am more measured. One would have to take a closer look to see if its importance has not been diminished". Moto-Net wishes the manufacturers good luck … and recommends the utmost caution to its readers !


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