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Even More On The Upcoming Motorcycle Crash Causation Study‏

October 15, 2009

Even More On The Upcoming Motorcycle Crash Causation Study‏

From a press release issued by Motorcycle Safety Foundation:

Motorcycle Safety Foundation Statement Regarding Crash Causation Study

The MSF and the motorcycle industry would like to take this opportunity
to address the recent decision by the FHWA (Federal Highway
Administration) and OSU (Oklahoma State University) to conduct an
‘abbreviated’ Motorcycle Crash Causation Study. 
Transportation reauthorization legislation (SAFETEA-LU), passed in
August 2005, mandated that the Crash Causation Study use the
Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)
methodology, appointed OSU to conduct the research, and ultimately
appropriated about two million dollars in funding. Also included in the
law was a requirement for OSU to seek matching funds. The motorcycle
industry, through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, pledged three
million dollars with a few reasonable conditions, the primary condition
being that an adequate number of cases would be collected so that the US
study could be comparable to other international motorcycle studies and
achieve a satisfactory level of statistical significance. Following the
passing of the law, the actual estimates to cover the entire expense
came in at roughly eight to nine million dollars, meaning that the study
was significantly under-funded. Unfortunately, to date, Congress has not
committed additional financial support.

The MSF, industry, and safety experts agree that the abbreviated
Motorcycle Crash Causation Study by OSU is unlikely to either validate
the findings of prior studies or establish, to any statistical
significant level, any new causative factors. The abbreviated study is
unlikely to accomplish either of these goals because the sample size is
expected to be only 300 crashes, compared to the 900 crashes collected
and analyzed in the Hurt Study, 921 in the MAID’s Study (Europe 2000)
and the 1,200 recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Conversely, if the study was conducted as it was originally intended, it
would achieve the goal of identifying, to a statistically significant
level, the causation factors upon which countermeasures could be
developed to reduce tragic loss of life and improve the safety of our
fellow riders. Industry’s commitment of three million dollars well
exceeded the original matching funds level called for in SAFETEA-LU and
industry has not withdrawn its offer. But with a limited sample size of
approximately 300, we believe the study will not provide sufficient
statistical significance of the OECD identified study variables and the
MSF Board of Trustees has determined that MSF must continue to make its
commitment of funds contingent upon a sample size of at least 900 cases.

We want to extend our thanks and appreciation to OSU for its
professionalism and NHTSA and FHWA for their strong efforts in seeking
to conduct the first U.S. Motorcycle Crash Causation Study since the
Hurt Study of 1981. We are confident that OSU will do its best in
working with the U.S. Department of Transportation and various
contractors to achieve what can only reasonably be expected.

As for industry, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation will continue to
invest in research and development of new rider training curricula and
instructional methods, refinement of existing curricula, new
instructional videos, publication of new books and safety tips, and
other programs intended for the safety and well-being of motorcyclists.
Any insights garnered from the ‘abbreviated’ OSU study will be
considered among the other inputs to our continual improvement
initiatives in support of riders everywhere.

Examples of MSF Continual Improvement Initiatives:

MSF Course Catalog includes:

– Seven hands-on courses for novice motorcyclists, three-wheel
motorcyclists, and scooter riders; these range from parking lot (range)
instruction to actual riding on streets and highways

– Five hands-on courses for riders with some experience; these range
from parking lot (range) instruction to actual riding on streets and

– Five classroom-only “Host an Event” courses focused on rider choices
and other roadway users respect for riders.

– And future plans based on addressing identified needs

Since August 2005 when SAFETEA-LU was passed into law, MSF has
introduced four new RiderCourses, certified 4,988 RiderCoaches and 72
RiderCoach Trainers, developed and introduced a new licensing skills
test, produced a series of three “Host an Event” training and awareness
programs, and awarded 28 grants to individuals and organizations to
conduct small-scale research projects and to provide public outreach

MSF provides training courses in 48 states, U.S. Territories, and the
Kingdom of Jordan and will train an estimated 470,000 riders in 2009.
Additionally, the MSF supports all branches of the U.S. Armed Services
in all states and on bases around the world by providing approved
training courses. In fact, MSF developed the Military SportBike
RiderCourse (MSRC) in response to the U.S. Navy’s request for new
curriculum to address the growing number of traffic deaths among Navy
personnel who ride sport bikes. In FY09 the Navy implemented the MSRC
and reported a 61 percent decrease in motorcycle-related fatalities.

The MSF is currently conducting and planning to conduct significant
research that contributes to the public and academic discussion of
various motorcycle safety issues. MSF current projects include:

– The Discovery Project, a joint project with NHTSA and University of
North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center that is testing the
concept of safety renewal.

– Basic RiderCourse Validation Study, an external contract with Pacific
Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) to report on the internal
and concurrent validity of the BRC Knowledge and Skill Tests.

– Motorcycle Safety Campaign Effectiveness Study: Associate Professor
Marifran Mattson from Purdue University and her students are developing
public service campaigns for motorcycle safety, testing the
effectiveness of the campaign and developing a public guide to
implementing a campaign. This is supported by multiple National Agenda
for Motorcycle Safety (NAMS) grants (funded by industry).

– SMARTrainer Efficacy Study, a preliminary exploration of integrating
the Honda SMARTrainer into MSF novice training.

– Multiple ongoing projects that investigate potential new MSF courses
and/or changes to current MSF curricula programs.

– Our regularly scheduled feedback surveys of MSF’s stakeholders.

Other preliminary research efforts include:

– Advising Accident Scene Management, Inc. as they work with the Medical
College of Wisconsin to test a helmet removal protocol.

– Preliminary discussions with major university traffic safety program
personnel and independent research consultants to study simulator use in
training and motorcycle instrumentation’s application to training.

In conclusion, MSF adheres to the high degree of research, pilot and
field-testing and ongoing refinement as new insights in crash
investigation, traffic safety, motor skills development, student
centered learning, brain-based learning, adult learning and more become
available. In this regard, the Crash Causation Study as it currently
stands does not meet MSF or international standards.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 16, 2009 6:14 am

    I wonder if they’re report the fact that MSF censors the word countersteering from all motorcycle “license” tests and from MSF Beginner Rider Courses, to extort more money for advanced classes.

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