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 Tip 056: Most Fatal Accidents Are NOT "I didn't see him" problems - despite what you have heard
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Male Advanced Member
728 Posts

Ottawa, Ontario


09 Wee

Posted - 09/15/2015 :  1:32 PM                       Like
For tip 056,http://www.msgroup.org/Tip.aspx?Num=056, the link to the July 1994 report, http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/PPSC/Research/june95.htm, no longer appears to work. The closest that I've gotten to the article, is an abstract on ResearchGate.

Advanced Member
585 Posts

Central Coast, CA



Posted - 09/19/2015 :  11:22 PM
I had hoped to reconstruct the published results from Tip #56 and bring them up to date, but there wasn't enough detail for me to reverse engineer the process used in the IIHS report. And starting from scratch looked like a LOT of work. However, I was able to answer a few questions that interested me and may also interest readers here.

Thanks to recent improvements in accident data coding in the US DOT's FARS database (Fatality Analysis Reporting System), I was able to break down certain kinds of crashes to a finer level of detail than was possible in 1994. I compiled the following for the years 2010-2013:
  • Over those four years, there were 18,493 fatal motorcycle crashes in the US.

  • Of those, 8344 (43%) were single-vehicle crashes, 9187 (48%) were two-vehicle crashes, and 1776 (9%) involved three or more vehicles.

  • In most of the single-vehicle crashes, the motorcycle departed the road (31% of all crashes), usually in a curve with speed as a factor. In one-third of the road-departure crashes the rider was reported to have a BAC of .08 or higher. The next largest category of single-vehicle crashes was striking an animal or pedestrian (3% of all crashes), and alcohol was NOT a significant contributor.

  • In the most common two-vehicle crash, the motorcycle, going straight, hit an oncoming vehicle turning left (12% of all crashes). The next most common was a rear-ender, the motorcycle striking a vehicle ahead (4% of all crashes). The third most common was hitting a left-turning vehicle crossing from the right (4% of all crashes).

  • The two left-turner crash configurations above have very similar contributing factors, so I combine them here (17% of all crashes). Driver error--fail to yield right of way, improper turn (e.g. "no left turn"), or failure to obey signal--was reported in nearly 80% (13% of all crashes). Motorcyclist error--speeding, reckless, or failure to obey signal--was reported in 30% (5% of all crashes). Note that in some crashes BOTH driver and rider errors contributed.

The results here cannot be compared directly to those in the research cited in Tip #56, but the earlier conclusions generally prevail: Running off the road, usually in a curve, is by far the most common kind of fatal motorcycle crash. Colliding with a left-turning vehicle, either oncoming or crossing from the right, is significantly less frequent but is the second most common kind of fatal crash. The driver is responsible for most of those crashes, but the motorcyclist contributes to a substantial portion.

Edited by - DataDan on 09/19/2015 11:30 PM
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