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OCR for page 11
SECTION III--TYPE OF PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED EXHIBIT III-3 Motorcycle Fatality Rates Source: Adapted from Shankar, 2004; FARS, 2006 While it is often assumed that excessive speed is a factor in the causation of single-vehicle crashes, research has suggested that loss of traction due to the road surface condition is also a contributing factor in crashes (de Rome et al., 2002). Multiple-Vehicle Crashes In 2006, 50 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes were the result of a motorcycle crash with another vehicle (FARS, 2006). Most of these crashes occurred on major roadways (as opposed to freeways and minor roads) and most of them occurred between noon and midnight (NHTSA, 2004). There were also a large number of cases involving alcohol. In 1981, an in-depth motorcycle crash study conducted in Los Angeles found that 75 percent of all crashes, both fatal and non-fatal, involved a collision with another vehicle, most often at an intersection. Failure to yield the right of way was the most frequently reported cause of a motorcycle-vehicle collision in that study (Hurt et al., 1981). More recent data has suggested that inattention and unsafe speed are also major causes of motorcycle- vehicle crashes. There is also recent research that suggests that motorcycle conspicuity is a contributing factor in motorcycle-automobile collisions (Wells et al., 2004). EXHIBIT III-4 Helmet Use Distribution of Motorcycle Fatalities in 2006 Source: FARS, 2006 Specific Attributes of the Problem Helmets Not Used Helmets 42% Exhibit III-4 illustrates the distribution of helmet Used 58% use in fatal crashes. Numerous studies have been completed over recent years to quantify the safety effectiveness and value of using a helmet. For example, one study showed that helmeted riders were less likely to have sustained traumatic III-3

OCR for page 11
SECTION III--TYPE OF PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED EXHIBIT III-5 brain injury across a variety of crash-related factors Distribution of Motorcycle Fatalities including crash type, speed limit, highway type and in 2004 in which Speeding Was Cited alcohol involvement (Bigelow, 2001). Another study As a Factor Source: NHTSA, 2006b found that riders not wearing helmets were found to be three times more likely to have head injuries Speeding requiring either EMS transport or hospitalization 37% or resulting in death than motorcyclists who were helmeted (Finison, 2001). Speeding is one of the factors that increases the odds of a motorcyclist being at fault in a collision (Kim, Not 2001). Exhibit III-5 shows that speed is a contributing Speeding 63% factor in fatal crashes 37 percent of the time, which is about twice the rate for drivers of passenger cars or light trucks (NHTSA, 2006b). Alcohol involvement among motorcycle riders is higher than all other vehicle types (passenger cars, SUVs, vans, and pickups [NHTSA, 2005]). The operation of a motorcycle combined with alcohol can lead to deadly consequences for motorcycle riders and passengers. In fact, riding a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol is a leading cause of fatal crashes involving motorcycles. Exhibit III-6 illustrates the distribution of blood alcohol level in fatal crashes. Licensing programs are necessary to measure the readiness of riders to ride safely on the road. Many riders, however, avoid the licensing process and ride illegally. In 2006, one in four motorcycle operators (24 percent) involved in fatal crashes was operating the vehicle with an invalid license, as illustrated in Exhibit III-7. This compares with only 13 percent of drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes without a valid license (FARS, 2006). Typically, riders who are operating a motorcycle with an invalid license are actually operating a vehicle "out of class," meaning that the rider has an automobile license but the EXHIBIT III-7 Distribution of Motorcycle Fatalities in 2006 by Proper Licensing of Rider EXHIBIT III-6 Source: FARS, 2006 Alcohol Level Distribution of Motorcycle Fatalities in 2006 Unknown Improperly 1% Source: FARS, 2006 Licensed 24% BAC 0.08+ 28% BAC 0.01-0.08 6% BAC 0.00 66% Properly Licensed 75% III-4

OCR for page 11
SECTION III--TYPE OF PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED license is not lawfully endorsed for motorcycle EXHIBIT III-8 operation. Age Distribution of Motorcycle Fatalities in 2006 An interesting trend in motorcycle safety is the changing Source: FARS, 2006 distribution of motorcycle fatalities by age group. Unknown Exhibit III-8 presents the age distribution of motorcycle 0% Under 20 fatalities in 2006. While the exhibit does not demonstrate 5% 50 & Over any trends over recent years, older motorcyclists have 24% become proportionately more involved in fatal crashes. In fact, the number of fatalities in the over-40 age group 20-29 26% has been steadily increasing since 1992. This could be due to a combination of the aging of the younger population of users, or it could be due to an increase in new motorcyclists among the older population. 40-49 24% 30-39 21% III-5