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Factors influencing Motorcycle Crashes

We’re all told about the various factors involved in automobile accidents. Do red cars really get into more accidents than blue cars? Are black cars safer than white cars? One study looked carefully at motorcycle crashes and determined which factors were most causative for these kinds of accidents.

Researchers looked specifically at the conspicuity of the driver or the vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident. They studied motorcycle crashes that took place near or in Auckland, New Zealand over a three year period of time. In total, about 463 crashes that led to a hospitalization or death were studied. A control group of 1233 regular motorcycle drivers were surveyed along the roadway.

The researchers looked at risks based on things like helmet color, the use of reflective stripes, clothing color, the use of fluorescent clothing and whether or not their headlight was working. They found that most crashes occurred primarily in urban areas that had a 50 km/hr speed limit (66 percent). Most (63 percent) occurred during the daytime hours and 72 percent of the time, the weather was fair.

It was also noted that wearing fluorescent clothing made for a 37 percent less chance of getting into a severe crash. Black helmets were 24 percent safer than white helmets. Light colored helmets had a 10 percent lower risk of getting into a crash than darker colored helmets. Three fourths of all drivers had their headlights on even though it was daytime and this was associated with getting into an accident 27 percent less than if the headlight wasn’t on.

There didn’t seem to be any relationship between the color of the driver’s clothing or the color of the motorcycle. Risks were 33 percent higher if you didn’t have reflective or fluorescent clothing on. Risks were also 18 percent higher for a non-white helmet and 11 percent higher for a dark colored helmet. Risks were 7 percent higher for having no daytime headlight.

In summary, researchers determined that being less conspicuous worsened the chances of getting into a motorcycle crash and that things like reflective clothing, white or light colored helmets, and running with daytime lamps on are inexpensive ways to reduce the chance of getting into a severe motorcycle accident.

Certainly, driving within the speed limit helps reduce the risk of motorcycle accident as well as driving below the speed limit in bad weather. Driving so that you are visible to the automobile drivers on the road by not driving in their blind spot can make a difference. Paying attention to the roadway signals and signs are extremely important. If you blow a stop sign, for example, it is no one’s fault but your own if a vehicle strikes you from the side or hits you nearly head on when they are making a legal turn in front of you.

The other thing you can do to reduce your risk of motorcycle collisions is to not drink and drive. Using drugs or drinking alcohol and getting on a motorcycle impairs your ability to operate the motor vehicle and impairs your overall judgment.

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