Three major analyses of motorcycle crashes were performed. The first examined fatal and non-fatal motorcycle crashes, while the other two compared crash-involved motorcycles with crash-involved passenger cars. Data included motorcycle crashes reported in North Carolina in 1976, 1977, and 1978 and passenger car crashes reported in 1978. All three analyses considered environmental, vehicular, and human factors that were included in the accident report form. The limitations of the available data are described. It was found that fatal motorcycle crashes differed from non-fatal ones on almost every variable examined. Alcohol involvement was more likely to be reported for fatally injured motorcyclists than for others. Although speed appears to be a major factor in fatal crashes, light condition makes a difference within every speed category. Crashes occurring at night on unlighted roads appear to be especially lethal. When crash-involved motorcycles were compared with crash-involved passenger cars, it was found that the motorcycle crashes were occurring at higher speeds. Motorcycle crashes were more likely to be single vehicle, and motorcycle operators were less likely to be judged by the investigating officer to be in violation than were passenger car drivers. However, when violations did occur, speeding was more characteristic of the motorcyclist. Passenger car drivers were more likely to be restricted to use of corrective lenses. Because motorcyclists are predominantly male and tend to be younger than the passenger car driver population, the third analysis controlled for these variables, as well as for season of the year. Some of the differences previously found between motorcycles and cars were minimized, while others were magnified. Controlling for these factors, it was still found that motorcycle crashes occurred at higher speeds than those of passenger cars, although the differences were not so great. Interestingly, the earlier finding that passenger car drivers were more likely to be judged as culpable was magnified when driver age and sex were controlled. Furthermore, it was now found that passenger cars were more likely to be judged as speeding, a reversal of the previous finding.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Conference held in Washington, D.C., 18-23 May 1980. Also published in HS-029 702, International Motorcycle Safety Conference Proceedings. Volume 3, p 1153-78.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Motorcycle Safety Foundation

    780 Elkridge Landing Road
    Linthicum, MD  United States  21090
  • Authors:
    • Carroll, C L
    • Waller, P F
  • Publication Date: 1980

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 26 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00323138
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-029 711
  • Files: HSL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 15 1984 12:00AM