Researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute recently completed a five-year analysis of Texas motorcycle crashes.
“The purpose of this project was to understand the complex nature of motorcycle crashes in Texas by constructing a motorcycle crash database and a multi-year analysis of these data with an emphasis on the prevention of fatal and incapacitating injury crashes,” says Eva Shipp, Crash Analysis Program manager.
As part of the Texas Department of Transportation sponsored study, Comprehensive Analysis of Motorcycle Crashes in Texas: A Multi-Year Snapshot, Shipp and her team created four fact sheets detailing their findings. These findings include:
- Motorcycle crashes are more severe than other types of crashes.
- 28% of motorcycle crashes were fatal or incapacitating compared to 4% of non-motorcycle crashes.
- 11% of motorcycle crashes result in only property damage compared to 61% of non-motorcycle crashes.
- Of riders involved in motorcycle crashes, 93% of operators were male and 85% of passengers were female.
- Impairment is associated with motorcycle crash severity.
- Of fatal motorcycle crashes, 44% involved an impaired rider. Of motorcycle crashes that resulted in only property damage, only 3% involved an impaired rider.
- Speeding is related to motorcycle crash severity.
- 30% of fatal motorcycle crashes involved speeding as a contributing factor.
- 7% of crashes that resulting in only property damage involved speeding as a contributing factor.
- About 50% of motorcycle crashes were single vehicle crashes.
- 65% involved the motorcycle overturning.
- 24% involved the motorcycle hitting a fixed object.
- Among multi-vehicle crashes at intersections, the most common contributing factor (25%) was failure to yield the right of way while turning left.
- Among motorcycle crashes occurring on curves, 75% occurred on those with a large radius (1400+ feet).
- Rural areas present unique crash risks for motorcycles (e.g., large wildlife).
- Of animal-involved motorcycle crashes in rural areas, 35% were fatal or incapacitating. In urban areas, 19% of animal-involved motorcycle crashes were fatal or incapacitating.
Researchers used the most comprehensive analysis of motorcycle crash causation—a report led by H. H. Hurt titled Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures—as a guide for the analysis. Although it is over 35 years old, it remains among the most referenced pieces of motorcycle safety literature.
Shipp explains, “The overarching goal of this project was to support the prevention of motorcycle crashes in Texas by producing up-to-date information that guides data-informed decision-making.”
“The number of motorcyclists killed each year on Texas roadways is decreasing, but we still have a long way to go,” says Center for Transportation Safety Director Robert Wunderlich. “Motorcycle crashes still represent a disproportionate number of crashes in Texas. It is our hope that by gleaning and sharing information from crash analyses like this one, we can help promote the knowledge needed to develop countermeasures to reduce that number.”