IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 13, 2015 - The Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have begun to analyze data from approximately 363,000 miles of riding, as well as data from riders of nearly every age group (21-80 years) with the goal of identifying which factors lead to safe riding, and which factors lead to crashes and near-crashes.
The study follows the completion of an exploratory review and organization of data from the 3 year MSF 100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study where 100 volunteers and their motorcycles were fitted with cameras and sensors to collect "all motorcycle operator inputs such as steering, acceleration, braking and lean, as well as recording all motions of the motorcycle, current riding conditions and the actions of surrounding traffic."
Data was collected from individuals who rode most days and others who had long stretches without riding. There are riders who commute, and others who ride for pleasure; riders who sometimes wear all their gear and sometimes don’t wear their gear. As expected, the bulk of the data is “riding without incident.” However, there are incidents – crashes and near-crashes – that will be studied.
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VTTI and MSF will conduct a detailed analysis of crashes, near-crashes, and matching periods of uneventful (baseline) riding to determine how different factors increase or decrease risk for riders. Within each event, over 50 factors will be scored using five video angles augmented with sensor data. Rider inputs and outcomes preceding and during crashes and near-crashes will be logged. The baseline riding periods will be reviewed on video in the same manner to permit statistical comparison to the crashes and near-crashes.
“This study constitutes groundbreaking research,” said VTTI Director Tom Dingus. “It will help determine the causes of motorcycle crashes in greater detail so that effective countermeasures of all types can be developed or improved to reduce fatalities.”
In addition to factors present at the time of an event or baseline, factors from participant questionnaires and their broader riding data will also be included. For example, general factors such as the rider’s time since last ride, training history, observed riding capabilities, or observed riding style will be included.
As with all of MSF’s research, the results of this work will be incorporated into its training curricula and disseminated through public information programs.
“Through this analysis, MSF continues its history of looking beyond age, gender or bike type,” said MSF President and CEO Tim Buche. “This work will go deeper to identify the factors that individuals can address to improve their own safety.”
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation® promotes safety through rider training and education, operator licensing tests and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling. Standards established by the MSF® have been recognized worldwide since 1973.
The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by BMW, BRP, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Polaris Motorcycles, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha. For safety information or to enroll in the RiderCourse nearest you, visit msf-usa.org or call(800) 446-9227. All photos ©2014 Motorcycle Safety Foundation.