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 Motorcycle Crash Causation Study--NTSB recommendations
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DataDan
Advanced Member
576 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 09/14/2018 :  11:50 AM                       Like
Some readers here might remember a Motorcycle Crash Causation Study authorized by Congress in 2005 and overseen by the Federal Highway Administration. The much needed update to Harry Hurt's 1970s research (published in 1981) became a pork-barrel project given to Oklahoma State University through what is now known as the Southern Plains Transportation Center. It was several times as expensive as Hurt, is as yet unpublished, and, it seems to me, is too small to produce statistically significant results. Hurt and MAIDS both investigated 900 crashes; MCCS ended up with about 300. According to the project website, the "Final Report and Volumes 1 and 2 will be available in 2018" but, in fact, are not yet available. A "preliminary report", a PDF of a Powerpoint presentation is available here: FHWA Motorcycle Crash Causation Study.

Here is some relevant discussion in this forum:

Though the FHWA final report is not yet publicly available, the NTSB has made some recommendations based on it. From a press release this week:


The National Transportation Safety Board issued Tuesday a safety report highlighting the need for better integration of motorcycles in crash warning and prevention systems and for more widespread availability of enhanced braking and stability control systems on motorcycles.
...

"The recommendations made in this report are designed to improve detection of motorcycles in traffic and give motorcycle riders more time to react to dangerous conditions," said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. "Passenger-vehicle based crash warning and prevention systems and connected vehicle technologies have the potential to enhance motorcycle safety by improving motorcycle conspicuity, but these systems are not consistently designed to detect or integrate motorcycles. Antilock braking and stability control systems on motorcycles provide riders with assistance in unexpected circumstances -- riders remain in control until they need the help."


Here are findings from the executive summary of the NTSB report (PDF) (like the MCCS report due from FHWA, the full report is not yet available):


1. Many high-risk traffic situations between motorcycles and other motor vehicles could be prevented if vehicle drivers were better able to detect and anticipate the presence of a motorcycle when entering or crossing a road, making a turn, or changing lanes.

2. Motorcycle riders' collision avoidance performance could be improved by extending the range of hazard detection and providing riders with more information, enhanced awareness, and more time to react to crash risks.

3. Vehicle-based crash warning and prevention systems will be most effective at preventing collisions when they can reliably detect all vehicle types, including motorcycles.

4. The integration of motorcycles with connected vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems has been limited compared to other vehicle types.

5. Antilock braking system technology would improve motorcycle safety by enhancing the effectiveness of rider evasive actions through improved braking performance and stability.

6. Stability control systems on motorcycles could reduce single-vehicle crashes that involve loss of control and running wide on a curve and off the road, which would reduce the prevalence of motorcyclists killed or injured by impacts with roadside fixed objects.

7. More focused research is required to understand the contribution of alcohol and other drug use as a risk factor in motorcycle crashes and whether specific countermeasures could reduce alcohol- and other drug-related motorcycle crashes.

8. Motorcycle licensing procedures have not been adequately evaluated for safety and effectiveness, which makes it difficult to determine if current licensing procedures are achieving reductions in motorcycle crashes, injuries, and fatalities or encouraging unlicensed riders to become fully licensed.



The graph below appeared with the NTSB press release (link above). Make of it what you will. I'm still waiting (after 13 years) for definitive answers from the final FHWA report.



(This chart depicts the crashes analyzed for this report, distributed by crash configuration. The most frequent crash configuration involved a motor vehicle turning left in front of a motorcycle. NTSB graphic)

scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6922 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 1090 Adv R

Posted - 09/14/2018 :  1:03 PM
Thanks for sharing this information with us.

I've noticed that the states of Idaho and Wyoming are better than California at putting up warning signs for motorcycles in construction zones or anywhere with edges that could cause problems for two-wheeled vehicles. I think this applies to #2.
quote:
Originally posted by DataDan

6. Stability control systems on motorcycles could reduce single-vehicle crashes that involve loss of control and running wide on a curve and off the road, which would reduce the prevalence of motorcyclists killed or injured by impacts with roadside fixed objects.
I don't understand what motorcycle stability control is. Do you know?

My latest bike has antilock brakes, traction control, and a steering damper. Does stability control somehow fit into those devices?

As for motorcyclists running wide on a curve, better training will do more there than anything they can add to a bike - in my opinion. I don't see how you can make a motorcycle pick a better line through a corner than what the rider chooses - or settles for.

It is my own belief that many riders who run off of the road have no idea what line they want through a turn and it's only after things have gone way wrong and they're heading for the edge that they panic, fail to save it and crash off of the road. If they knew that they were starting to go wide when they were just four inches off of their intended line, many could make corrections and still make it through the turn. When I'm riding, I consider it a rider error if I even get four inches off of my intended line, even though I can still make the turn and make it appear as if there were no issues. Fortunately, even that is fairly rare for me anymore. And I'm thankful that I eventually learned that skill, because I didn't have it for my first decade or two of riding.
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DataDan
Advanced Member
576 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 09/14/2018 :  2:16 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

I don't understand what motorcycle stability control is. Do you know?

My latest bike has antilock brakes, traction control, and a steering damper. Does stability control somehow fit into those devices?

Here's a Kevin Cameron article, Motorcycle Stability Control, Explained:


Bosch, at the end of 2014, released what it calls the first all-in-one motorcycle safety system: MSC. This Motorcycle Stability Control is based upon the basic capabilities of ABS and traction control but expanded it by the addition of lean-angle data to situations such as acceleration or braking in midcorner. "Our mission is injury-free riding," Bosch engineer Frank Sgambati said.

Behind the development of this system is data from the German In-Depth Accident Study. Almost half of fatal motorcycle accidents are due to rider error occur in turns, and in two-thirds of these, MSC can help. ABS is already able to prevent one-quarter of casualty-causing accidents.

The classic accident situation is one in which the rider misjudges (often by
under estimation) how much braking power can be used in a given turning situation or whether the machine has the grip to negotiate a given turn. Go to YouTube and see case after case of riders who ran wide, off the road, because they did not in timely fashion make the effort to turn tighter. Such riders need something to give them confidence that the machine can safely complete the necessary maneuver.

As a motorcycle leans over in a turn, the tire grip required to turn the bike is subtracted from total tire grip--the tighter you turn, the less is left for acceleration or braking. But how much is left? As you accelerate or brake, weight is transferred from one wheel to the other, increasing or decreasing its grip. But by how much? The more accurate your information, the wider the range of your machine's safe operation.


More at the link.

Here's a rider impression at Revzilla: Testing Bosch's Motorcycle Stability Control.

And here's the view from Popular Mechanics: Motorcycles Are Learning to Save You From Your Own Recklessness.

quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

As for motorcyclists running wide on a curve, better training will do more there than anything they can add to a bike - in my opinion. I don't see how you can make a motorcycle pick a better line through a corner than what the rider chooses - or settles for.

I agree with you. But I think the purpose is to prevent loss of traction due to braking or throttle input even while leaned in a turn. So after a poor choice of speed and line, the rider can continue to brake, confident that he can still scrub off speed without losing grip. And traction control--like you have and now a familiar feature--prevents loss of traction due to overenthusiastic throttle application.
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Eagle Six
New Member
11 Posts


Snowflake, Arizona
USA

Kawasaki

ZX14R

Posted - 09/14/2018 :  3:32 PM
Thank You Dan for this information, the time you spend and the knowledge you have on this subject and the many others you have posted. I don't reply often, but follow your very informative posts.

I currently have 2 bikes, a 2006 with only operator controls and a 2012 with traction control. The 2006 depends on the operator getting the maximum from the bike. I'm very comfortable doing so and confident in my abilities. I think I'm pretty good at maintaining control when approaching or on the edge.

When considering these MSC's, I ask myself, "Am I perfect?", the answer being NO. And, "if I were perfect, would I be perfect every single time?", the answer again being NO. So, although I pride myself in my ability to control my 2006 bike, I also recognize and appreciate the control the traction system on the 2012 add's to my riding. On several occasions, once on slick fresh pavement sealing, and the other during an unintentional wheelie, just when I recognized the fault and started to apply the correction, traction control was already applying the correction!

Combining ABS, traction Control, Launch Control to a system that measures lean angle and all the other parameters that go into the MSC is only going to be as good as the math they put into it. But if it is as good as ABS and traction control systems have become, it is a system I would most likely endorse and think the additional cost to be worth the investment.

As for the industry, I would have to think MSC is a benefit to all riders (obviously including myself) regardless of their perceived skill level.
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Robsalvv
Male Standard Member
206 Posts


Melbourne, Vic
Australia

Kawasaki

ZX9R

Posted - 09/15/2018 :  7:17 PM


On the face of it, it seems like a miss after such a long period of "research".

This is just another of the many studies in the world that go a "technology will save riders" path. It's probably not surprising that academic researchers have gone this path since we fallible human riders are so poor at self motivated training and advancing their skills, rider decision processes and hazard perception and evaluation. Most riders aren't MSGroup-ers.

Even with all the tech in the world, a bike is still largely beholden to the rider's decisions and their control inputs. If the type of tech is the V2V style which communicates to the rider, the rider still needs to know what to do with the information provided.

I'm particularly disappointed in number 8. Are there some states in the US without compulsory basic training? If so, is there a difference in crash involvement of novice riders in these states versus states with compulsory basic training? Doesn't seem like a difficult analysis??

With BMW releasing their self steering motorcycle that includes lane assist, I predict that the next wave of motorcycle safety studies will start including self riding motorcycles as recomended countermeasures.

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DataDan
Advanced Member
576 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 09/17/2018 :  10:03 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Robsalvv

On the face of it, it seems like a miss after such a long period of "research".

We really don't know yet, since the report written by the Oklahoma State group that did the study has not yet been published. But I'm not optimistic. It looks like the OSU lab farmed out most of the work--investigation, statistical analysis, quality control--to outside contractors, leaving approximately no one with "skin in the game" to produce a document that might improve motorcycling. Contrast that to motorcyclist Harry Hurt.

quote:
This is just another of the many studies in the world that go a "technology will save riders" path. It's probably not surprising that academic researchers have gone this path since we fallible human riders are so poor at self motivated training and advancing their skills, rider decision processes and hazard perception and evaluation. Most riders aren't MSGroup-ers.

To be clear--not easy with the alphabet soup of agencies involved--NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) is a secondary user of the research, which was done by OSU, overseen by FHWA (Federal Highway Administration). NTSB (like FHWA, part of US Department of Transportation) seems to have a role in vehicle and roadway automation planning, so that was their focus.

For a better idea of what the research found, see the Powerpoint linked in my original post. It includes some graphs showing age, gender, training, and experience of crash-involved vs. exposure sample riders. [BTW, I'm offering a one-time award of ten hobo bucks to the first reader who finds the devastating data on "fartally" injured riders.]

quote:
I'm particularly disappointed in number 8. Are there some states in the US without compulsory basic training? If so, is there a difference in crash involvement of novice riders in these states versus states with compulsory basic training? Doesn't seem like a difficult analysis??

AFAIK, few states require any kind of training for riders age 21+. Possibly Florida, but I'm not sure of that. To your point more generally, research that has been done does not show that training reduces crash rate. But that's a whole 'nother topic. See table on page 24 of the Powerpoint, for example.
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DataDan
Advanced Member
576 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 09/17/2018 :  12:54 PM
quote:
Originally posted by DataDan

AFAIK, few states require any kind of training for riders age 21+. Possibly Florida, but I'm not sure of that.

A search turned up this from Florida DMV:


Florida Motorcycle License

Starting on July 1, 2008 the State of Florida requires that new Motorcyclists (age 16 and older) must take and pass the Basic Rider Course (BRC) through the Florida Rider Training Program before they get a "Motorcycle Only" License or can have the Motorcycle Endorsement added to their current Drivers License.

When you successfully completed the Basic Rider Course the sponsor will submit the results to the DMV electronically.



The training requirement appears to have had no effect on the state's crash rate:

Florida Motorcycle Registrations, Crashes, and Rate

........regs.....crashes...rate/1000
------------------------------------
2000...255,210.....5,184........20.3
2001...305,461.....5,905........19.3
2002...345,490.....6,157........17.8
2003...392,420.....6,836........17.4
2004...461,935.....7,585........16.4
2005...516,126.....8,425........16.3
2006...588,962.....9,246........15.7
2007...624,932.....9,488........15.2
2008...673,434.....9,867........14.7
2009...669,746.....8,582........12.8
2010...600,859.....7,695........12.8
2011...574,346.....8,397........14.6
2012...619,152.....9,267........15.0
2013...545,452.....9,511........17.4
2014...558,123.....9,678........17.3
2015...572,754.....9,958........17.4
2016...582,648....10,096........17.3

The sharp initial drop could be an effect of the requirement, the recession, or both, but it is now back at the pre-training level.


Florida motorcycle registrations from Federal Highway Administration.
Florida motorcycle crashes from Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1715 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 09/18/2018 :  5:41 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
CT has required the MSF class for a motorcycle endorsement for a couple years now. You go to DMV for a quick written test for a learner permit, take the MSF and pass, then go back with certificate in hand for the license or endorsement.

Might be a good idea to take the class, but, I think DMV has abdicated their role in testing by doing it this way. In that, isn't the standard congradulation by the instructors something like "now you're qualified to ride a motorcycle in a parking lot"?


https://www.ct.gov/dmv/cwp/view.asp?a=805&q=470670
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6922 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 1090 Adv R

Posted - 09/18/2018 :  8:19 AM
quote:
Originally posted by rkfire

Might be a good idea to take the class, but, I think DMV has abdicated their role in testing by doing it this way. In that, isn't the standard congratulation by the instructors something like "now you're qualified to ride a motorcycle in a parking lot"?
Every state that I know anything about motorcycle riding testing does it in a parking lot. This is the test that you take instead of taking a class. I think all they're looking for is that you can generally control a motorcycle. In California, they also check that you can make really tight turns in both directions, which can be quite difficult on a sportbike, but totally easy on a dual sport.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1715 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 09/21/2018 :  7:02 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Although there could be other ways to test. I heard second hand, but in Ontario Canada, there's a choice. A longer class, or a riding test at motor vehicles. The inspector follows in a vehicle with a 2 way radio giving instructions as to turn left, right etc. on a route you'd do for a car license.

A purchase of a set of intercoms wouldn't break the bank of any DMV office.

ps: I think I am reading it right, that CT. requires a drivers license before a motorcycle "license".


I also remember the time of my test at DMV. The motorcycle endorsement was brand new. When I got to the DMV office, the inspector said they didn't quite have the instructions on testing, but was supposedly in the parking lot. Their parking lot was gravel. So, he saw my bike, asked if I rode it to their office from my town 20 miles away. I said yes, he said, well it appears you got here in one piece, and gave me my endorsement. lol


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DataDan
Advanced Member
576 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 10/02/2018 :  2:01 PM
In my original post in this thread I linked to the Executive Summary of the NTSB report, which had then been published sans full report. The whole thing is now available:

Select Risk Factors Associated with Causes of Motorcycle Crashes (76-page PDF)

I don't know if this is the final final report or just the final view from NTSB's perspective. I kinda expect that more is on the way from FHWA.

Later today I'll get a copy printed and take a close look. For now, I will say that it's 350 pages thinner than Hurt and 100 pages thinner than MAIDS.
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DataDan
Advanced Member
576 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 04/04/2019 :  7:02 PM
The final report is now available from the Federal Highway Administration here: Motorcycle Crash Causation Study: Final Report. Two other big documents are available on the project website, but seem to be more about conduct of the study than information of interest to motorcyclists. Raw data is available, but only on special request.

I could say I was "disappointed" but that's not true, because my expectations had dropped to about zero over the past 10+ years. The 100-page report isn't remotely near the standard set by Hurt--scoff as you may at his archaic data compilation methods on 1970s computers, or production with hand-drawn graphs and IBM Selectric "typesetting". Hurt was a motorcyclist, and he produced his report for other motorcyclists. We learned a great deal from it.

This one was done by the federal government to satisfy the requirements of pork-barrel legislation. Not only that, the project was handed off to a state agency, where it was run by a goldbrick equally uninterested in motorcycles. Further, the real work--the same kind done by Hurt's motivated crew of grad students--was contracted out, again, to parties with no interest, no skin in the game. And it cost so much more than Hurt's that only 351 crashes were investigated, compared to 900 in Hurt, and is thus much lower in statistical power.

I haven't looked closely at the report yet. However, I did a search for "experience" since that's a Hurt result I'm familiar with. Very little turned up. Same with "age". I'll be looking for more in the next few days.

Here's my challenge to those of you left on this forum: Find something interesting in it. Something that makes you a better rider, makes you go "huh!", explains a phenomenon you've observed--and report back in this thread. The report's findings are in section 3, starting on page 31. They are divided into: time and place, environment, contributing factors, comparison to controls, and some stuff about passengers I skimmed right past.

I hereby resolve to find 3 things and post them up on Monday!
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6922 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 1090 Adv R

Posted - 04/05/2019 :  6:48 AM
quote:
Originally posted by DataDan

I hereby resolve to find 3 things and post them up on Monday!

Okay, here are the first three interesting things that I found in the report.

Page 31:
quote:
3 - First Harmful Event for Motorcycle

95.1 percent of single-vehicle crashes first collided with a "Fixed Roadside Object."
I find that interesting because two out of three times that I've managed to crash a motorcycle the only object I hit was the road. The other time it was a guard rail.

Page 32:
quote:
10 - Crash Configuration

Left-turn scenarios were the most common crash configuration, followed by falling to avoid crash and running off the roadway.

I also find this intersting - "falling to avoid crash". That has to be a training problem when a rider basically crashes to avoid crashing. Maybe it has to do with poor braking skills. I learned from lots of dirt bike riding that you don't ever give up. There's always hope of "saving it".

Page 37:
quote:
38 - If First Harmful Event Is a Noncollision

Overturns (90 percent) were the dominant type of the first harmful event for the MC or OV in noncollision.

I'm trying to understand this one. Motorcycles pretty much always tip over when you crash them. Were there 10 percent of cases where the bike somehow stayed upright?
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DataDan
Advanced Member
576 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 04/05/2019 :  7:41 PM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

Page 37:
quote:
38 - If First Harmful Event Is a Noncollision

Overturns (90 percent) were the dominant type of the first harmful event for the MC or OV in noncollision.

I'm trying to understand this one. Motorcycles pretty much always tip over when you crash them. Were there 10 percent of cases where the bike somehow stayed upright?


Probably not. I don't know how the term is defined for these investigations, but NHTSA documents on their crash data publications define it thusly: The First Harmful Event is defined as the first injury or damage producing event of the crash. NHTSA also refers to an ANSI manual, so it is apparently a standard term.

From NHTSA, here is a list of possible First Harmful Events for a non-collision:

rollover/overturn
fire/explosion
immersion or partial immersion
gas inhalation
jackknife (harmful to this vehicle)
injured in vehicle (non-collision)
pavement surface irregularity (ruts, potholes, grates, etc.)
other non-collision
thrown or falling object
cargo/equipment loss or shift (harmful to this vehicle)
fell/jumped from vehicle
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DataDan
Advanced Member
576 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 04/08/2019 :  12:06 PM
The 351 Orange County, CA, crashes investigated for the MCCS, by design, all resulted in motorcyclist injury. Thus, they are not quite representative of all motorcycle crashes, since around 15% of police-reported crashes in the area are non-injury. Moreover, they also involve a greater percentage of fatalities, 11.4%, while state records show that 2.7% of motorcycle crashes in the county were fatal, 2015-2017.

As part of the study, 702 non-crashers were interviewed at times and places similar to the crashes as a sample of the population from which the riders came. Here are a few crasher/non-crasher comparisons:

.......................|...more likely..|..less likely..
.......................|....to crash....|...to crash....
group ride.............|................|.......X.......
no training............|.......X........|...............
self-taught............|................|.......X.......
< 3 years experience...|.......X........|...............
age <= 30..............|.......X........|...............


Here are some results that need elaboration:
  • Attention failure contributed to 32% of crashes.

  • Motorcyclist's traffic scan contributed significantly to multiple-vehicle crashes.

  • Motorcycle speed compared to surrounding traffic contributed significantly (though it doesn't say "high" or "low").

  • Alcohol or drugs involved in 13% of crashes.

Finally, here are two inscrutable conclusions, interpretation of which I leave to you:
  • Situation incompatibility contributed to 25% of crashes.

  • Compensation failure contributed to 23% of crashes.
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