Update: Motorcycle Crash Study in Jeopardy

This is a sponsored post from Robert Reeves, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can help individuals with their legal troubles if they have been personally injured on their motorcycle.

I owe this heads-up to Fasthair, who, in response to my post asking “Why Are All These Bikers Dying?,” sent me the link I’ll give you momentarily.

I’ve mentioned here a couple times now that a new motorcycle crash study has gotten underway to update and tell us more about this subject than the 30-year-old Hurt Study can do. What I had not heard is that due to funding issues, it is currently dead in the water.

The study is to be conducted by Dr. Samir Ahmed, who is a researcher in the Transportation Center at Oklahoma State University (OSU). Federal matching money was put up with privately raised money and theoretically the study was underway. I reported previously that selected intersections in Los Angeles were being equipped with recording and sensing devices so as to gather crash information, and it looked like things were rolling.

Not so. As Jeff Cobb with Motorcycle Safety News reports, Dr. Ahmed cannot move forward with the study because Alan Tree, associate dean for research at OSU’s College of Engineers, Architects and Technology, is concerned that there is not enough money, and that his department would be forced to make up the difference if the project ran out of cash before the job was done.

All in all a very distressing situation that Jeff Cobb explains in detail.

Another comment on the same post came from Torch, who said in regard to the questions I was raising, “Very good questions. We could use a compiled list of frequent mistakes, what to watch for, and how to avoid those situations.”

Well, as I noted in that post, I see an unending stream of headlines about biker accidents and deaths, so in the last week I have kept track of them all. The following list is representative but not all-inclusive. I follow the headline with the explanation from the article that tells the story.

  • 1 Killed, 2 Hurt in Motorcycle Crashes — motorcycle rider tried to veer in front of another vehicle but instead impacted the front bumper of the car/veered in front of another motorcycle; motorcycle rider had been racing
  • Buddy Lee Cole injured in motorcycle-truck crash — truck turned in front of him
  • Motorcycle driver dies after colliding with backhoe — driver of a backhoe failed to yield while turning
  • Rogersville Man Injured When Motorcycle Flips — riding veered off Lonesome Pine Trail and flipped – lost control of the motorcycle after swerving to avoid a white car that he encountered on his side of the road in a curve
  • Lafayette Motorcycle Accident Kills One — collision with a van traveling southbound who turned into its path
  • Motorcycles Hit 18-Wheeler; Both Riders Injured — struck an 18-wheeler whose driver failed to stop at a stop sign
  • Motorcycle wrecks claims life of Raleigh man — ran into a Jeep, speeding
  • 3 die in separate biker accidents Saturday — rear-ended by a pickup’s driver; lost control
  • Two killed in motorcycle crash — hit head-on by a minivan (that crossed center line)
  • Motorcycle crash kills Repton man — lost control of his motorcycle
  • Motorcycle accident in southeast Huntsville — lost control of his bike and ran into a deep ditch
  • Tecumseh woman killed in motorcycle crash — crashed into the rear of a van
  • Madison County man dies in motorcycle accident — entered Quarterline Road into the path of a southbound Jeep
  • Biker dies after city crash — collided with a blue Toyota Carina which was trying to perform a U-turn
  • One Dead After Motorcycle Crash — rear-ended rider
  • Wister man killed after crashing motorcycle into wooden post in LeFlore County — running his motorcyle off a LeFlore County road and crashing into a wooden post
  • Fatal Motorcycle Crash in Dallas — speed may have caused him to lose control and slam into a wall

OK, that’s enough. Mind you, that’s only about half of what I collected in one week, pretty much in chronological order. What do we see there?

We see several of the accidents we all know occur, where a driver turns left in front of a bike. The surprising thing we see is that many of them do not involve any other vehicles, they are just cases of bikers who lose control and hit something. In a couple other cases the biker rear-ended someone else.

In other words, it is easy for us to say it’s “those damn cagers” who are killing us but at least in the last week it’s really more that we are killing ourselves. Was alcohol involved? In some cases, probably. Excessive speed was definitely involved in some. These are factors we have absolute control over.

I don’t know about you, but I love riding my bikes. As soon as I die, the fun is over. What choices are you going to make today?

Biker Quote for Today

If you want to get somewhere before sundown, you can’t stop at every tavern.


2 Responses to “Update: Motorcycle Crash Study in Jeopardy”

  1. fasthair Says:

    Mr. Ken: This was a depressing read. I did a little score keeping here with just what you have reported. It adds up like this. Rider fault, 8 killed, 3 hurt. Driver fault, 9 killed, 4 hurt.

    It is some what clear that the riders used possibly less then better judgment. And whether they were wearing gear or not is has not been reported but also does not play in to the final results as you post them.

    It is also VERY clear that the rider more or less did nothing wrong other then being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Over half of these death and injuries could have been prevented IF the driver had been more aware of the rider.

    With just the 17 cases you presented the death and injury total could have been reduced by over 50% if the drives would have “seen” the rider. Can you imagine how many lives a year could be saved if we could just get the drives to pay more attention? The other 50%? Well, you can’t fix stupid.

    Now what I want to know is what or if any charges are filed any of these cases? Along that line, who gets the “short of the stick” if you will more often, the rider or driver?

    The reason for that last comment is there is clearly (in my eye) a double standard at play when it comes to riders verve drivers in crashes. I’ve had rider friends spend time in jail for hurting (not killing) someone while riding. I’ve also lost distant family in a bike crash where the driver was at fault but not a single charge, or ticket for that matter, was filed.

    The problem with finding out the “truth” to those questions is the sources from which they come. This is why it is so vital that this new study take place and get underway sooner rather then later. Like Mr. Cobb reported, we may not like the answers that the report brings to light. But once they are brought to light all of us as riders can work towards changing the things we can change.


  2. Maxx Says:

    I’m in the motorcycle biz, so I enter the word “Motorcycle” in a search engine two or three times a week and go to “News” and I see that awful count of deaths and injury news stories. I see all the “cager did it” ones and agree they are about half and I see the single-vehicle, often unexplained, rider lost control ones.
    The reason I want research is to find out about those accidents and their causes.
    From 44 years of riding experience I know there a a few causes we don’t discuss;

    TIRE FAILURES, i firmly believe that there are 100s of single bike crashes caused by rapid loss of air pressure. Lack of post accident investigation is why we will never know

    EQUIPMENT FAILURE, Especially Owner-modified bikes; because most states have no safety inspections of bikes that are at all meaningful I think there are lots of dumb mistakes made that lead to accidents. Like speed wobbles from poor alinement, frame and swing arm failures from welds and bolt-up dubious contraptions and floor boards so big and low they lift the rear-wheel off the ground. I actually SAW that crash from less that 30 yards ahead when a big cruiser went down on a curve in front of me.

    SUICIDES, I know for positive of 3 single bike deaths that were suicides but not listed as such on the death certificates. I have seen a couple of news stories from Kentucky and California of soldiers running sport bikes into objects a high speeds with no apparent cause. Suicide by vehicle is uncounted for the most part but I know is a very real occurrence.

    Plenty of riders loose their lives over being under the influence of various intoxicants and from poor skills and riding beyond ability and that’s a hugh problem. But we know about that, what about the unknown causes?

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