Four Things You Didn’t Know About Motorcycle Crashes

Did you know the most comprehensive, most regularly quoted motorcycle safety survey happened in 1981? That survey was also limited to southern California, and it only had post-crash evidence and testimony to go by. Well, it’s the era of the smartphone now, so maybe it’s time to get an update on that study, and Virginia Tech set out to do just that.

What Are the 4 Things you Didn’t Know About Motorcycle Crashes?

The last major study on motorcycle crashes was called the Hurt report, and it was limited by the technology of the 80s. That’s why researchers from Virginia Tech thought they could add a new dimension to the study of motorcycle crashes. They followed 100 riders from Arizona, California, Florida and Virginia by using cameras, GPS and data loggers. Can you guess what they found out?

  1. Right-hand curves are more dangerous– The Virginia Tech study found that your chance of crashing doubled in right-hand curves versus a straight road. Specific reasons for this weren’t given, but left-hand corners usually have a wider turn angle on American roads.
  2. Intersections are dangerous, but more specifically– Intersections are dangerous for motorcyclists, but the most dangerous intersection for riders are those that are uncontrolled in the rider’s direction. You are 40 times more likely to crash at these intersections. Parking lot and driveway intersections increased the odds of crashes by eight times, while intersections with traffic lights were around three times more dangerous.
  3. Certain road conditions up your chances of crashing– Riding uphill can increase your chances of crashing by four times, but riding downhill only doubles your chances of crashing. You are also nine times more likely to crash on gravel or dirt roads.
  4. We drop our bikes a lot– During Virginia Tech’s study, there were only 30 crashes but there were 122 near crashes. Of those crashes and near-crashes over 56% were low speed ground impacts (what we like to call tip-overs.) That means there are probably a lot of people out there who just aren’t admitting they’ve dropped their bike before.

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