motorcycle-rider-trainingCritical Skills: What we know from accident research

Riding requires five times more motor-skills development than driving a car. Risk management and risk reduction are critical components of proficient motorcycle operation. Basic (self-taught) riding experience alone is not enough for effective risk management.

Most of the data below comes from a USC/DOT research study of more than 900 motorcycle accidents. For a more comprehensive understanding, look online for: Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Counter Measures (also known as the “Hurt Report”).

  • 92 percent of these riders had no formal training, were mostly self-taught or taught by friends, but they had, on average, 2.5 years of riding experience.
  • 75 percent of the motorcycle accidents involved another vehicle, typically a car.
  • 66 percent of the time, the driver of the other vehicle violated the rider’s right of way. “I never saw the motorcycle,” was the most common explanation.
  • 66 percent of motorcycle-only accidents were due to rider error in a turn, typically caused by over-braking or running wide on a curve.
  • 50 percent of these accidents happened within the first six minutes.
  • Average pre-accident speed was less than 30 mph!
  • Riders’ failure to perceive what was developing in the distance was their most significant contribution to these accidents.
  • The average time riders had to detect and react to the hazard which created the accident was less than TWO SECONDS!
  • MOST riders lacked significant collision-avoidance skills, often skidding the rear tire while under-utilizing the front brake.
  • Counter-steering, a skill critical for swerving and cornering, was essentially absent.
  • HAZARDS per mile: On the freeway, the average was 17 per mile. In city riding, hazards averaged 237 per mile!

Riding skills are developed through knowledge and experience.