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Federal Investigation into MC Crashes

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published the results from a pilot study that tested methodologies to be used in a more in-depth investigation into motorcycle crashes, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports. The larger study is now under way at the Oklahoma Transportation Center, a well-respected research facility, under the supervision of Oklahoma State University (OSU).

"The AMA has long advocated for, and supported, a new federal study into the causes of motorcycle crashes and motorcyclist fatalities, particularly in light of evolving demographics and changing technology," said AMA Senior Vice President for Government Relations Ed Moreland. "A comprehensive motorcycle crash study is long overdue, and this pilot study is the first step to making sure we collect the data necessary and employ the proper procedures to learn lessons that will save lives."

The current report does not focus on crash data from the scaled-down pilot investigation, but rather the investigative procedures that are crucial to the integrity of the OSU study. "Motorcycle Crash Causes and Outcomes: Pilot Study" describes the processes investigators used to collect crash data, the type of data collected and offers recommendations for a larger motorcycle crash study that's partially funded by a $100,000 grant from the AMA.

The pilot study can be downloaded from AmericanMotorcyclist.com/legisltn/documents/MC_Crash_Pilot_Study.pdf.

In 2005, Congress approved the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, and the legislation called for the study. Lawmakers pledged $2.8 million for the research, and asked the motorcycling community to pitch in.

In 2007, the AMA committed $100,000, and AMA members contributed an additional $27,000 through the AMA Fuel the Fund campaign. Since then, six state safety programs -- New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas and Wisconsin -- have pledged another $560,000.

Westat, based in Rockville, Md., and Dynamic Science Inc., based in Anaheim, Calif., conducted the pilot study for the federal government. Over a three-month data-collection period, investigators worked with five police agencies in seven jurisdictions. Notifications were received on 53 motorcycle crashes, of which 23 cases were completed. Investigators concluded that data collection is the most-challenging aspect of such a study and offer suggestions to improve that process.

The pilot study reports that the average cost per completed case is $7,500, which includes a margin for dropped cases. However, this figure includes data collection only and does not include overhead costs of forms, manuals, other equipment and back-office support.

The last major motorcycle crash causation study, commonly called the "Hurt Report" in reference to its lead researcher, the late professor Hugh H. "Harry" Hurt, was completed in 1980. The Hurt Report 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.

For more information about the new OSU study, go to AmericanMotorcyclist.com/news/story.asp?id=1431.
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.

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