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New Motorcycle Traffic Study Initiated

For the first time since 1981’s Hurt Report, the  Federal Highway Administration is beginning a comprehensive study of traffic safety as it relates to motorcycles.

A significant new motorcycle crash causation study will soon get under way at Oklahoma State University (OSU). Formally announced by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on Oct. 5, the study will give motorcyclists and others concerned with highway safety a fuller picture of how motorcycles fit into today’s traffic mix, a better understanding of what causes motorcycle crashes, and insights into the best strategies to prevent these crashes.

“The announcement that the full study will now begin is great news,” said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. “While the study will take years to complete, it promises to offer up information that will allow for the creation of effective countermeasures to make the roads safer for all of us.”

The last major motorcycle crash study, called “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures,” commonly known as the Hurt Report (named after lead researcher Harry Hurt), was published in 1981. It provided a wealth of data that has been used to develop training and strategies to help keep riders safer on the road. In the decades since, the traffic environment has changed enormously, prompting the AMA to begin campaigning for a new study several years ago.

“There is certainly a lot more traffic now than when Harry Hurt and his team did their research,” Moreland said. “SUVs didn’t exist back then, and motorcycles have advanced light years in technology. On top of that, distracted driving poses a significant safety challenge. We will certainly learn a lot from this new study.”

The FHWA is overseeing the OSU project, which will be administered at the Oklahoma Transportation Center, an independent and well-respected research facility in Stillwater.

It will be interesting to see how the changes of the past 28 years will affect the conclusions of the study.

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2 Responses to New Motorcycle Traffic Study Initiated

  • I hope experienced motorcylists will be given an opportunity to weigh in on road surface maintenance practices that endanger us regularly and in my opinion are basically discriminatory, e.g., tar and chip(slippery tar patches and loose gravel debris), slippery paint, bumps on curves, poor road camber, etc.
    All or at least the majority of accident causes relative to motorcycles reside in the heads of those with direct experiences.

  • It’s great to see this kind of research happening again.  The more exposure the community gets, the more action we can hope for on road conditions and driver education.  Education needs to be increased – for those on two wheels, and those on more.