Death and Injury in Motorcycle Accidents: The Utilisation of Technology to Reduce Risk.
Keywords: Anti-Lock Braking, Relative Risk, Airbag, Accident, Fatality, Motorcycle
ACRS, DOI:10.33492/JRS-D-21-00004, https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-21-00004
Submission Date: May 13, 2021 Journal
Suggested Citation: Evans, V. (2021) Death and Injury in Motorcycle Accidents: The Utilisation of Technology to Reduce Risk. Journal of Road Safety, 32(2), 49-56. https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-21-00004
In the early 1970s in Great Britain, the fatality rate for motorcyclists was twenty times that for a car driver, this relative risk has widened to around fifty in modern times. Motorcycling has not become more hazardous, rather a modest decline in the fatality rate over four decades has been eclipsed by a considerably greater reduction in the rate for car drivers. Travel by car has become safer, with seatbelts, a rigid safety cell and crumple zones, airbags, head restraints, energyabsorbing steering wheels, and shatter-resistant windscreens, all contributing to risk reduction. A motorcyclist, conversely, on most modern machines, has none of these features, with the crash helmet being the only safety feature generally adopted by motorcyclists over the last half century. The risk inherent in motorcycling could be reduced to a similar level as car travel by a radical re-design of the motorcycle to include a rigid safety cell, clad in energy absorbing deformable material, coupled with a rider restraint system. Less radical technological changes that could reduce the risk of injury, or death, include fitted anti-lock braking systems, ideally with integrated stability control, and an integral impact-activated airbag may arrest the forward motion of a rider in frontal impact conditions. The relatively simple measure of increased rider and/or machine conspicuousness can reduce the risk of certain accidents.