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NHTSA MC Research in Progress

October 7, 2009

Note: Final Reports for these projects will be available approximately
six months after the end date shown on the individual project
description. Injury Control/Research
In Progress/files/PilotMotorcycleCrashCausesOutcomes.pdf

Pilot Study – Motorcycle Crash Causes and Outcomes
Project Manager: Jenny Percer, (Email:, Phone:
With the continued rise in motorcycle crashes, motorcycle safety
professionals and advocates believe that a motorcycle crash causation
study will assist in identifying countermeasures to reduce motorcycle
crashes. In anticipation of a mandate for a motorcycle crash causation
study in SAFETEA-LU, NHTSA initiated a pilot study to test out the
methodology for in-depth crash investigations as defined by the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and
determine the best strategies for obtaining control cases.
The OECD specifies how in-depth investigations should be conducted at
the crash scenes during the immediate post crash period as well as
specific data elements to be collected. The data collected includes
roadway and environmental conditions, as well as all involved vehicles
and equipment. In-depth interviews with riders, motorists and available
witnesses are also conducted on-scene to the extent possible, and all
riders and motorists are tested for alcohol using Preliminary Breath
Testers. In addition to acquiring data on a crash sample, a sample of
two non-crash riders matched for day of week, time of day, and location
of crash will be stopped randomly and compared with the crash sample
which would allow for calculations of relative crash risk associated
with many of the variables on which data are acquired (e.g. age, gender,
alcohol level, motorcycle type, riding experience, speed, etc.) for the
full crash causation study.
The goal of the pilot study is to obtain cost per crash estimates,
strategies for obtaining controls, average time to close cases,
strategies for working with law enforcement, recommendations and lessons
Start Date: September 1, 2005
End Date: October 16, 2009
Contractor: Westat, 1650 Research Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20850
Contract Number: DTNH22-05-C-05079
Total Contract Cost: $994,201
——————————– Injury Control/Research

Feasibility Assessment of Instrumentation to Collect Behavioral Data to
Identify On-road Rider Behaviors

Project Manager: Jenny Percer, (Email:, Phone:

Motorcyclist fatalities have steadily increased over the last 10 years.
The largest increases have been among older riders ages 40 and over and
on motorcycles with large engine sizes. Motorcyclist fatalities often
are men, are more likely to occur on weekends, and are often
speed-related. While we know about the characteristics of motorcycle
crashes, we do not know what can be done to decrease them. One possible
avenue to identify behavioral factors related to safe riding and crash
involvement is to collect data on motorcycle rider behavior while they
are engaged in their normal riding activities.

The purpose of this task order is to demonstrate the feasibility of
conducting a larger scale study with 50-60 motorcycles by collecting
data on 3-5 motorcycles for 2-4 weeks. If it can be sufficiently
demonstrated that motorcycles can be instrumented with several recording
devices over a riding season, then a full scale study with 50-60 riders
will be considered as a possible future research study.

Start Date: September 5, 2008
End Date: April 4, 2010
Contractor: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 460
Turner Street, Suite 306, Blacksburg, VA 24060
Contract Number: DTNH22-05-D-01019, Task Order #22
Total Contract Cost: $247,516

——————————————- Injury Control/Research
In Progress/files/TheEffectSightDistanceTrainingMotorcycleSkills.pdf

The Effect of Sight Distance Training on Motorcycle Skills

Project Manager: Jenny Percer, (Email:, Phone:
While motorcyclist fatalities continue to increase, the cause is
unclear. Motorcycle safety advocates often argue that motorcycle
training is the best countermeasure to reduce motorcycle crashes.
However, the limited research on the effectiveness of training suggests
that the benefits of training last approximately 6 months.

Team Oregon, who conducts motorcycle training, proposes that overriding
sight distance (when total stopping distance exceeds sight distance) is
a possible cause of riders running off the road. In addition, overriding
sight distance makes it difficult to detect and respond to road hazards
with enough time to avoid collisions. Team Oregon and Dynamic Research
collected preliminary data on experienced motorcycle riders using an eye
tracker. After collecting baseline data, riders received feedback on
visual search strategies to increase their sight distance and were
re-tested with the eye tracker. There were marked improvements in visual
lead and accuracy after receiving feedback.

NHTSA is conducting a study using eye tracker technology to assess
differences in line-of-sight among motorcycle riders. This is a
longitudinal study where participants will be tested at 6 month
intervals over a year (baseline, 6 months, 12 months). The objectives of
this study are to 1) determine whether providing line-of-sight distance
training increases riders’ line-of-sight, 2) compare trained-novice
riders, untrained-novice riders, and experienced riders on line-of-sight
on a closed circuit course and an open circuit course and, 3) compare
the interaction of performance on courses (open and closed) and
line-of-sight among trained-novice riders, untrained-novice riders, and
experienced riders over time.

Start Date: August 6, 2008
End Date: August 23, 2010
Contractor: Westat, 1650 Research Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20850
Contract Number: DTNH22-05-D-01002
Total Contract Cost: $349,754
Date Last Updated: March 10, 2009

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