“Hurt Report” (“Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures” Technical Report)
In 1981, Harry Hurt (the primary researcher and the name the report is often referred to as) and his colleagues at the University of Southern California published their findings in a study commissioned by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although almost thirty-five years have passed since the date of publication, and while there have been a number of other similar studies, the Hurt Report is still the most frequently cited study of its kind because of its comprehensive nature (see the article listed below).
Over the decades there have been a lot of changes in motorcycles, riders, automobiles, riding terrain and potential causes of accidents, notably the use of cell phones by drivers. Even still, the Hurt Report’s findings continue to be relevant and do identify the many common causes of accidents today. Some of the situations leading to and causing accidents found in the Hurt study include:
-Two-thirds of motorcycle-car crashes occurred when the car driver failed to see the approaching motorcycle and violated the rider’s right-of-way.
-In the single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating factor in about two-thirds of the cases, with the typical error being a slide-out and fall due to over braking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.
-The most frequent accident situation is where the motorcycle is proceeding straight when the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.
-Intersections are the most likely place for a motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.
-Almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement.
-Motorcycle riders in these accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems. Most riders would over-brake and skid the rear wheel, and under-brake the front wheel greatly reducing collision avoidance deceleration. The ability to counter, steer and swerve was essentially absent.
-Seventy-three percent of the accident-involved motorcycle riders used no eye protection, and it is likely that the wind on the unprotected eyes contributed an impairment of vision which delayed hazard detection.
-Motorcycle riders between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four are significantly overrepresented in accidents; motorcycle riders between the ages of thirty and fifty are significantly underrepresented.
-The motorcycle riders involved in accidents are essentially without training; 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends. Motorcycle rider training experience reduces accident involvement and is related to a reduced number of injuries in the event of accidents.
-More than half of the accident-involved motorcycle riders had less than five months experience on the accident motorcycle, although the total street riding experience was almost three years.
For further details on the study and findings go to the Wikipedia “Hurt Report” article.