How Many Motorcycles Have YOU Seen Today?
. . . . LOOK AGAIN !
More motorcycles are on the road today than ever before. The predominate cause of crashes is the failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic. To avoid crashes and reduce injuries and fatalities, motorists should pay special attention to people riding motorcycles. This special attention starts with an awareness of motorcycles, an understanding of what to expect from motorcycles, and knowledge of where most crashes are likely to occur.
Facts About Motorcycles:
What Motorists Can Do:
To decrease the number of motorcycle crashes, it is imperative that motorists increase their awareness, understanding, and respect of motorcyclists. There is no magical formula; however, motorists can take an active role to ensure their safety and the safety of riders.
The first step is to ask yourself: “How many motorcycles did I see today?” Then, look again, to assure that you have looked for motorcycles and automobiles. This is what we call putting on your CYCLEVISION. Putting on your CYCLEVISION is a mental attitude and an awareness that motorcycles are everywhere.
The Challenge Of Motorcycling:
Here are a few important facts to help motorists understand the challenges of motorcycling:
Size & Visibility
Motorists are familiar with looking for other cars, not motorcycles. Motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, therefore, they are harder to see. It is also difficult to judge a motorcycle's speed and distance accurately.
Maneuvering & Obstacles
A motorcycle occupies 4 feet of a 12 foot lane in traffic. The motorcyclist moves within the lane, adjusting to changing driving conditions - the road, the weather, or other vehicles. While motorcyclists typically ride in the left portion of a lane, they may move suddenly to get out of a motorist's blind spot. Remember, motorcycles use as much of the lane as cars do - just not all at one time.
Motorcycles do not have protective exteriors like cars and, therefore, are more vulnerable to a variety of elements.
Even with the proper clothing and helmets, motorcyclists are at a higher risk of injury, should they be involved in a crash.
Motorcyclists are more affected by bad weather such as rain, high winds, and ice.
Understanding the challenges faced by motorcyclists can help motorists see another point of view while driving. Drivers can then anticipate the rider's moves and perhaps help prevent a crash from occurring. This is an essential part of driving with your CYCLEVISION turned on. Knowing where automobile and motorcycle crashes frequently occur is the next element of CYCLEVISION.
Typical Problem Spots:
2. Two lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction
3. External Conditions
Every driving situation is different and must be dealt with accordingly. Motorists that put on their CYCLEVISION look for, understand, and respect motorcycles sharing the roadway. Applying these suggestions is the responsibility of the motorist.
1. Actively look for motorcycles anytime you are on the road. Expect to see motorcycles, not just another car. Do not trust your mirrors because motorcycles can be hidden in your blind spot. Instead, turn and look over your shoulder. Drivers should look twice at intersections before proceeding. Being alert and paying specialattention to motorcycles is essential to driving responsibly.
2. Keep in mind the motorcyclist's point of view. Remember, motorcyclists move around on the road. Anticipate their movements, particularly in the places where crashes are most likely to occur.
3. Give the motorcycle the same space and respect that you would give other vehicles. Do not forget that they use the whole lane of traffic, even though it is not all at one time. Always give them a full lane and remember not to follow too closely. Allow a two to three second safety cushion between you and the motorcycle and increase it to four to five seconds when road or weather conditions are bad.
4. Be courteous. Let the motorcyclist know well in advance when you are planning to stop, turn, or change lanes. Do not speed up when a motorcycle is passing you. Never cut in too closely after passing a motorcycle. Remember that the person underneath that helmet could be someone you know.
CYCLEVISION is a mental attitude that motorists apply to help decrease the number of motorcycle crashes each year. Drivers that put on their CYCLEVISION are consciously aware of motorcycles and recognize potential crash areas. Each time you drive your automobile, put on your CYCLEVISION and ask yourself:
“How many motorcycles did I see today?” Then,
Email: Motorcycle Safety Unit
You can contact the Motorcycle Safety Unit at:
Motorcycle Safety Unit
How does the sounds of the road effect your hearing...I SAID EFFECT YOUR HEARING! Check out the article below to find out.
Custom Fit Hearing Protection and More for Motorcyclists
(AKA "Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures")
A brief summary of the findings is listed below. To order the full report, contact:
5285 Port Royal Road
Springfield, Virginia 22161
Vol.II (Appendix: Supplementary Data) is PB81206450 (~400 pages)
Either document is $42.95 plus $3.00 shipping. (circa 1990)
Throughout the accident and exposure data there are special observations which relate to accident and injury causation and characteristics of the motorcycle accidents studied. These findings are summarized as follows:
1. Approximately three-fourths of these motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle, which was most often a passenger automobile.
2. Approximately one-fourth of these motorcycle accidents were single vehicle accidents involving the motorcycle colliding with the roadway or some fixed object in the environment.
3. Vehicle failure accounted for less than 3% of these motorcycle accidents, and most of those were single vehicle accidents where control was lost due to a puncture flat.
4. In 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 slideout and fall due to overbraking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.
5. Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) were the accident cause in 2% of the accidents; animal involvement was 1% of the accidents.
6. In multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.
7. The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until too late to avoid the collision.
8. Deliberate hostile action by a motorist against a motorcycle rider is a rare accident cause. The most frequent accident configuration is the motorcycle proceeding straight then the automobile makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.
10. Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.
11. Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents.
12. Most motorcycle accidents involve a short trip associated with shopping, errands, friends, entertainment or recreation, and the accident is likely to happen in a very short time close to the trip origin.
13. The view of the motorcycle or the other vehicle involved in the accident is limited by glare or obstructed by other vehicles in almost half of the multiple vehicle accidents.
14. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.
15. Fuel system leaks and spills were present in 62% of the motorcycle accidents in the post-crash phase. This represents an undue hazard for fire.
16. The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph.
17. The typical motorcycle pre-crash lines-of-sight to the traffic hazard portray no contribution of the limits of peripheral vision; more than three-fourths of all accident hazards are within 45deg of either side of straight ahead.
18. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is most critical for the frontal surfaces of the motorcycle and rider.
19. Vehicle defects related to accident causation are rare and likely to be due to deficient or defective maintenance.
20. Motorcycle riders between the ages of 16 and 24 are significantly overrepresented in accidents; motorcycle riders between the ages of 30 and 50 are significantly underrepresented. Although the majority of the accident-involved motorcycle riders are male (96%), the female motorcycles riders are significantly overrepresented in the accident data.
22. Craftsmen, laborers, and students comprise most of the accident-involved motorcycle riders. Professionals, sales workers, and craftsmen are underrepresented and laborers, students and unemployed are overrepresented in the accidents.
23. Motorcycle riders with previous recent traffic citations and accidents are overrepresented in the accident data.
24. 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 reduced injuries in the event of accidents.
25. More than half of the accident-involved motorcycle riders had less than 5 months experience on the accident motorcycle, although the total street riding experience was almost 3 years. Motorcycle riders with dirt bike experience are significantly underrepresented in the accident data.
26. Lack of attention to the driving task is a common factor for the motorcyclist in an accident.
27. Almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement.
28. Motorcycle riders in these accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems. Most riders would overbrake and skid the rear wheel, and underbrake the front wheel greatly reducing collision avoidance deceleration. The ability to countersteer and swerve was essentially absent.
29. The typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist just less than 2 seconds to complete all collision avoidance action.
30. Passenger-carrying motorcycles are not overrepresented in the accident area.
31. The driver of the other vehicles involved in collision with the motorcycle are not distinguished from other accident populations except that the ages of 20 to 29, and beyond 65 are overrepresented. Also, these drivers are generally unfamiliar with motorcycles.
32. Large displacement motorcycles are underrepresented in accidents but they are associated with higher injury severity when involved in accidents.
33. Any effect of motorcycle color on accident involvement is not determinable from these data, but is expected to be insignificant because the frontal surfaces are most often presented to the other vehicle involved in the collision.
34. Motorcycles equipped with fairings and windshields are underrepresented in accidents, most likely because of the contribution to conspicuity and the association with more experienced and trained riders.
35. Motorcycle riders in these accidents were significantly without motorcycle license, without any license, or with license revoked.
36. Motorcycle modifications such as those associated with the semi-chopper or cafe racer are definitely overrepresented in accidents.
37. The likelihood of injury is extremely high in these motorcycle accidents-98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.
38. Half of the injuries to the somatic regions were to the ankle-foot, lower leg, knee, and thigh-upper leg.
39. Crash bars are not an effective injury countermeasure; the reduction of injury to the ankle-foot is balanced by increase of injury to the thigh-upper leg, knee, and lower leg.
40. The use of heavy boots, jacket, gloves, etc., is effective in preventing or reducing abrasions and lacerations, which are frequent but rarely severe injuries.
41. Groin injuries were sustained by the motorcyclist in at least 13% of the accidents, which typified by multiple vehicle collision in frontal impact at higher than average speed.
42. Injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement and motorcycle size.
43. 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 in impairment of vision which delayed hazard detection.
44. Approximately 50% of the motorcycle riders in traffic were using safety helmets but only 40% of the accident-involved motorcycle riders were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
45. Voluntary safety helmet use by those accident-involved motorcycle riders was lowest for untrained, uneducated, young motorcycle riders on hot days and short trips.
46. The most deadly injuries to the accident victims were injuries to the chest and head.
47. The use of the safety helmet is the single critical factor in the prevention of reduction of head injury; the safety helmet which complies with FMVSS 218 is a significantly effective injury countermeasure.
48. Safety helmet use caused no attenuation of critical traffic sounds, no limitation of precrash visual field, and no fatigue or loss of attention; no element of accident causation was related to helmet use.
49. FMVSS 218 provides a high level of protection in traffic accidents, and needs modification only to increase coverage at the back of the head and demonstrate impact protection of the front of full facial coverage helmets, and insure all adult sizes for traffic use are covered by the standard.
50. Helmeted riders and passengers showed significantly lower head and neck injury for all types of injury, at all levels of injury severity.
51. The increased coverage of the full facial coverage helmet increases protection, and significantly reduces face injuries.
52. There is no liability for neck injury by wearing a safety helmet; helmeted riders had less neck injuries than unhelmeted riders. Only four minor injuries were attributable to helmet use, and in each case the helmet prevented possible critical or fatal head injury.
53. Sixty percent of the motorcyclists were not wearing safety helmets at the time of the accident. Of this group, 26% said they did not wear helmets because they were uncomfortable and inconvenient, and 53% simply had no expectation of accident involvement.
54. Valid motorcycle exposure data can be obtained only from collection at the traffic site. Motor vehicle or driver license data presents information which is completely unrelated to actual use.
55. Less than 10% of the motorcycle riders involved in these accidents had insurance of any kind to provide medical care or replace property.
POLICE MOTORCYCLE TRAINING.
By Sgt. Andy Norrie
"Even rode my motorcycle in the rain,
And you told me not to drive,
But, I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I'm insane"
Excerpt from "You may be right" by Billy Joel
Insane may be the way most motorcycle riders would describe motorcyclists who ride in the rain on purpose. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, as professional law enforcement motor officers, it is inevitable that we will find ourselves riding our duty motorcycles in the rain. Unlike our civilian counterparts, most of us cannot simply decide not to ride if it is raining or if the weather forecasters are reporting that rain is likely. Many aspects of our job, such as specialized enforcement or escort duty will require us to ride rain or shine.
As professional riders, we must prepare ourselves for all potential risks that could affect our ability to perform our duty. The first step in this preparation is to learn as much as we can about this and other areas affecting our job.
It is imperative that you have good rain gear (and have it with you on your motor). There are many quality products offered by a variety of manufacturers to suit your needs. Rain and inclement weather produce low light conditions and other vehicles produce road spray all combining to limit your conspicuity (visibility) to other road users. That is why many departments have gone to a highly reflective, bright colored rain suits to combat this issue.
Waterproof boots and gloves are also a must. Throttle, clutch and brake controls on a motorcycle all require feeling and dexterity of your hands and feet. Once your hands and feet get wet, it will only be a short time before they get cold and you reduce or lose your ability to manipulate your motorcycle controls. Also, being wet and cold will distract you from your attention to riding, something you don't want to happen while you are riding in the rain. You want to maintain your mental edge.
You should have clear lenses for your glasses or a clear face shield (if your department is using that style of helmet) to permit clear vision. Be aware of fogging of your glasses or shield in rain conditions. Cracking your shield open a bit or moving your glasses further away from your eyes will permit air to flow on the inner side of the lenses and keep them clear.
At first sign of rain pull off the road and put on your rain gear. If the type of duty you are performing will not permit a pull off, then you are going to have to make a judgment call about putting on your rain gear ahead of time. The first 10 to 15 minutes of a rain storm are the most dangerous. The rain water mixes with the oil, dirt and road debris that has been sitting on the asphalt to create a greasy, slippery coating on the road. This usually washes away within this time limit. So if you can, pull off under a bridge or other dry spot and use this initial raining time to put on your rain gear and adjust your riding attitude and style to suit these new conditions. Again, if your duty does not permit a pull off then you should ride with heightened caution during this time.
Your motor is part of your equipment and you should always be checking your lights and tires prior to riding. The condition and traction ability of your tire's contact patch can make the difference between the weather being a minor inconvenience to taking a ride in the back of an ambulance. Check your tire pressure and your tread depth. Your tire pressure should be at the manufacturer's recommended rating and your tires should have enough tread to channel away water from under your motor's tires.
Research tells us that a motorcycle will have 75 to 80% of maximum traction in wet weather. If we have been applying effective riding strategies in our motorcycle riding style, nothing else should change when it rains. Good proactive riding habits of eye lead, scanning, anticipating and predicting, combined with effective application of your throttle, clutch and braking systems topped off with proper reactive skills of braking, turning and collision avoidance all still apply to riding in the rain. What wet riding does require is good smooth application of your systems. Wet riding seems to be a lot less forgiving then dry weather riding when it comes to errors of under or over application of inputs. Do your accelerating and braking in a straight line, set your corner speed in advance, smooth application of your clutch, throttle and brakes will keep the wheels of your motor from breaking free from the traction of your tire's contact patch. Keep your eyes up and identify hazards well ahead of time so you can make smooth adjustments. Remember to look where you want to go.
Hydroplaning occurs when a tire cannot channel all the water out from under the tire and the tire rides up on top of a thin layer of water and removes all of your traction. You might get away with this on a four wheel vehicle but a crash is almost inevitable on a motorcycle. Many factors affect when a motorcycle will hydroplane; water depth, speed, weight, width of tire, tire tread depth and tread pattern. All tires will hydroplane when presented with the right combination of these factors. The experts say keeping your speed below 55mph (90km/h) will reduce most of this risk, but there are no guarantees. If you do hydroplane, do not steer, lean or apply any braking but maintain your direction and PRAY. Good eye lead and scanning the road surface for hazards including puddles can help avoid potential hydroplaning situations. Riding in the track of the vehicles ahead may also help avoid these situations as the tires of that vehicle will disperse the water on the road so your tire won't have to work as hard. Also, when the vehicle ahead hits a puddle the spray from the puddle will indicate a hazardous situation for you to avoid.
Along with the risk of hydroplaning in pooling or ponding water, you must also be aware of varying road surfaces reacting differently to rain. Steel plates, streetcar tracks, grated metal bridges, earth, painted road markings, wood bridges and railway tracks all change their co-efficient of friction (grip) to differing degrees when wet. Avoid riding on multiple surfaces if possible.
Rain + Night (a double whammy)
Every drop of rain lying on the road, in puddles, on your windshield, on your glasses or visor, refracts light given off by headlights, tail lights and street lights into your straining eyes. Add flashing emergency lights to this equation and you may overload your optical inputs. Remember to focus on the fog line (the outside white line on your lane of the roadway) to avoid being dazzled by oncoming lights. Try to use the weaker glare off the tail lights of the vehicle in front of you to identify puddles or hazards in your riding path. Remember you must keep your eyes moving, don't fixate on one spot.
Train/practice in the wet/rain
Training should be as real as possible. Either train on a rainy day or simulate wet road conditions by watering down your training pad. Practice all your life saving skills: Braking/collision avoidance/cornering and turning in wet conditions. You will have much more confidence in both yourself and your bike the next time you get caught in the rain.
Ultimately, the best application of a life saving motorcycle riding skill, is to employ a "system" for motorcycle riding that helps you identify and avoid hazards so you don't have to employ the life saving skill in the first place.