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SECTION V Description of Strategies Objectives of the Emphasis Area The objectives for improving motorcycle safety and increasing the awareness of the unique characteristics of motorcycles are: · Incorporate motorcycle-friendly roadway design, traffic control, construction, and main- tenance policies and practices · Reduce the number of motorcycle crashes due to rider impairment · Reduce the number of motorcycle crashes due to unlicensed or untrained motorcycle riders · Increase the visibility of motorcyclists · Reduce the severity of motorcycle crashes · Increase motorcycle rider safety awareness · Increase safety enhancements for motorcyclists · Improve motorcycle safety research, data and analysis Explanation of Objectives In order to more properly understand the particular safety problems related to motorcycle use, improvements in traffic research and data analysis are necessary. Historically, roadway safety studies have focused on passenger cars and trucks and have neglected to consider motorcyclists as an individual roadway user group. Thus, the safety issues that may be unique to motorcyclists are not well documented. Furthermore, motorcycles are often overlooked during standardized crash data gathering efforts. Considering the needs of motorcyclists during the planning and construction of roadways can reduce the likelihood of motorcycle crashes. Creating a motorcycle-friendly environment goes beyond providing a gentle alignment, but also includes keeping the roadway free of foreign debris, providing a safe roadside free of objects or obstacles to motorcyclists, maintaining safe roadway surfaces during maintenance projects, and providing sufficient warning devices to motorcyclists prior to encountering potentially dangerous zones. As with all types of motor vehicle traffic, alcohol use by motorcycle operators continues to be a problem. Research shows that alcohol-related fatalities among motorcyclists are proportionally higher than in any other motor vehicle group. In 2003, 30 percent of all fatally injured motorcycle operators had BAC levels of 0.08 g/dl or higher. An additional 7 percent had lower alcohol levels (BAC 0.01 to 0.07 g/dl) (NHTSA, 2004). A preemptive measure in trying to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes is to ensure proper training and licensing of motorcyclists before they reach the roadways. V-1
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SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES Even though all 50 states require separate driver's license endorsements to operate a motorcycle and 47 states sponsor rider education courses (with 18 of those states having universal training programs), it has been estimated that 20 percent of the motorcycle population is either unlicensed or improperly licensed. Even more alarming is that more than 40 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes are improperly licensed (TRB, 1994). A common complaint of many motorcyclists is that passenger car drivers often do not see them and, as a result, violate the motorcyclists' right-of-way. The Hurt Study, Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures (Hurt et al., 1981), identified that riders who wore camouflage or other hard-to-see apparel were over-represented in right-of-way crashes, suggesting that conspicuity also plays a role in crash avoidance. The predominant color of motorcycle apparel is black: black leather jackets, black gloves and boots, and black helmets. The problem with black is that it is inconspicuous in the day and, in the absence of any retro-reflective material, invisible at night or in low-light conditions. Motorcyclists can immediately and inexpensively improve conspicuity, and thus their safety, by wearing retro-reflective material on their clothes and helmets. Retro-reflective vests are especially effective at increasing visibility at night. A study by Sosin and Sacks (1992) found more than 50 percent of all motorcycle-related fatalities were mainly attributed to head injuries. This study along with many others indicates that helmets are the single most important piece of protective equipment that a motorcyclist has at his or her disposal. NHTSA estimates that from 1986 through 1996 motorcycle helmets have prevented more than 7,900 motorcyclist fatalities and saved over $10 billion in related costs. Increasing the use of effective FMVSS 218 compliant helmets is universally accepted as a key motorcycle safety goal. Two approaches to work toward achieving an increase in the use of FMVSS 218 compliant helmets include: campaigns to promote helmet use and universal helmet laws. These approaches vary in ease of implementation and the level of rider community acceptance. The last objective deals with the need to enhance motorcycle safety, both on the motorcycle itself and within the roadway system. Continuing research is bringing several standard motor vehicle safety features to the motorcycle industry (such as anti-lock braking systems) and with a maintained focus, technology is sure to provide additional protection through advancements. Additionally, motorcycle detection for operational and warning systems needs to be investigated and improved. Strategies designed to fulfill these objectives are presented in Exhibit V-1. For a more detailed arrangement of strategies, according to cost and implementation time frame, see Section IV of this guide. EXHIBIT V-1 Objectives and Strategies to Address Motorcycle Collisions Objectives Strategies 11.1 A Incorporate motorcycle-friendly 11.1 A1 Provide full paved shoulders to accommodate roadside roadway design, traffic control, motorcycle recovery and breakdowns (T) construction, and maintenance policies and practices 11.1 A2 Consider motorcycles in the selection of roadside barriers (E) V-2
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SECTION V--DESCRIPTION OF STRATEGIES EXHIBIT V-1 (Continued) Objectives and Strategies to Address Motorcycle Collisions Objectives Strategies 11.1 A3 Identify pavement markings, surface materials, and other treatments that reduce traction for motorcycles and treat or replace with high-traction material (T) 11.1 A4 Maintain the roadway to minimize surface irregularities and discontinuities (T) 11.1 A5 Maintain roadway surfaces in work zones to facilitate safe passage of motorcycles (T) 11.1 A6 Reduce roadway debris such as gravel, shorn treads, snow and ice control treatments (sand/salt), and that resulting from uncovered loads from the roadway and roadside (T) 11.1 A7 Provide advance warning signs to alert motorcyclists of reduced traction and irregular roadway surfaces (T) 11.1 A8 Incorporate motorcycle safety considerations into routine roadway inspections (E) 11.1 A9 Provide a mechanism for notifying highway agencies of roadway conditions that present a potential problem to motorcyclists (E) 11.1 B Reduce the number of 11.1 B1 Increase motorcyclist awareness of the risks of impaired motorcycle crashes due to rider motorcycle operation (T) impairment 11.1 B2 Expand existing impaired driving prevention programs to include motorcycle riders and specific motorcycle events (T) 11.1 B3 Target law enforcement to specific motorcycle rider impairment behaviors that have been shown to contribute to crashes (T) 11.1 C Reduce the number of 11.1 C1 Increase awareness of the causes of crashes due to unlicensed motorcycle crashes due to unlicensed or untrained motorcycle riders (E) or untrained motorcycle riders 11.1 C2 Ensure that licensing and rider training programs adequately teach and measure skills and behaviors required for crash avoidance (T) 11.1 C3 Identify and remove barriers to obtaining a motorcycle endorsement (T) 11.1 D Increase the visibility of 11.1 D1 Increase the awareness of the benefit of high-visibility motorcyclists clothing (E) 11.1 D2 Identify and promote rider visibility-enhancement methods and technology (T) 11.1 E Reduce the severity of 11.1 E1 Increase the use of FMVSS 218 compliant helmets (P) motorcycle crashes 11.1 E2 Increase the use of protective clothing (T) 11.1 F Increase motorcycle rider 11.1 F1 Form strategic alliances with motorcycle user community to safety awareness foster and promote motorcycle safety (T) 11.1 F2 Increase awareness of the consequences of aggressive riding, riding while fatigued or impaired, unsafe riding, and poor traffic strategies (T) 11.1 F3 Educate operators of other vehicles to be more conscious of the presence of motorcyclists (T) V-3