Motorcycle Safety: How Was Harry Hurt?

Perhaps the most renowned study of motorcycle accident causes and countermeasures was done for University of Southern California by researcher Harry Hurt. He investigated 900 motorcycle accidents and analyzed another 3600 motorcycle traffic accident reports. The Motorcycle Safety Courses developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation are designed largely to build the skills that the Hurt Study found to be missing in the accident-involved rider. Some of the findings allows us to see some essential things we can do to avoid an accident.

Who hits us?

Motorcycle Safety

Most accidents involve a car violating our right-of-way. Most frequently, the car turns left in front of the motorcycle.

Where do we get hit?

Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the car not only violating our right-of-way, but often traffic controls as well. Most accidents are on short trips, and occur close to the trip origin.

Why do we get hit?

The main reason is that the driver of the other vehicle does not see us in time to avoid the collision. Alcohol is involved in almost half of the fatal accidents. Most motorcyclists are vigilant with regard to drinking and driving.

Why aren’t we seen?

Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor; especially from the front of the bike.

How can we be seen?

Wear high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets. Helmets should be white or bright colors during the day and reflective material at night. It also means positioning our motorcycles where we can be seen in traffic.

How else can we avoid accidents? 

Pay attention! Be extra cautious if you have less than 5 months experience. Motorcycle rider courses reduce accidents and injuries by teaching the braking and swerving skills that are necessary. Remember to wear proper eye protection to avoid impaired vision which delays hazard detection.

How can we prevent injuries in an accident?

Heavy boots, jackets and gloves reduce or prevent road rash. Full coverage helmets increase protection and reduce face injuries.

By: Robert Vaughan