Investigations Reveal Causes as Experts Work to Improve Safety
LONG BEACH, Calif., March 28, 2006 – Research into the reasons for motorcycle crashes, and what to do about them, are at the heart of the International Motorcycle Safety Conference, opening today in Southern California. More than 300 participants, including two-wheel safety experts from 20 countries, will hear and discuss presentations by university programs, government agencies, rider organizations, training professionals and the motorcycle industry. Data shared among all of these groups will be used in future safety programs and research efforts that will help motorcyclists be safer.
“This is the biggest gathering of motorcycle safety experts in the world, and part of an ongoing series of conferences aimed at reducing crashes,” said Tim Buche, president of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, which is hosting the conference. “With motorcycles becoming ever more popular, both as recreation and economical transportation on our crowded highways, it’s vital that we continue to learn the causes for crashes and how to best prevent them.”
The first presentation highlights the international scope of the conference; with a review of the latest large-scale crash study, conducted in Europe, where investigators closely examined more than 900 accidents in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.
The European “Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study” could forecast some of what safety researchers will learn from the next major investigation of U.S. crashes. Conference presenters from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will preview an upcoming $3 million motorcycle-crash causation study that is part of the federal highway reauthorization funding bill signed into law last fall.
This will be the first comprehensive American study of its kind since the landmark “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures.” This was the research funded by NHTSA and released in 1981 by a team from the University of Southern California, led by Professor Hugh H. Hurt. The upcoming study will examine what is happening with motorcyclists on today’s highways and provide the safety community with insights that will help to reinforce or enhance existing training programs.
This week’s safety summit offers a wide variety of compelling presentations from authorities around the world, including:Tuesday, March 28
- Crash causation – A panel presentation on why motorcyclists crash
- Older riders – Improving skills and a study from Australia
Wednesday, March 29
- Collision avoidance training – Getting ahead of the crash to prevent one
- Safety by design – How highway engineers can help motorcyclists
- Braking news – Testing anti-lock braking systems on two-wheelers
Thursday, March 30
- Mentoring motorcyclists – How veteran riders can pass on valuable experience
- Drinking and riding – Peer intervention and other approaches
- Graduated licensing – Progressive skills testing to earn a full license
In addition to the conference room presentations, MSF staff will be outside on a nearby riding range, staging demonstrations of the Basic RiderCoursesm, which is the predominant training curriculum nationwide. Last year, more than 350,000 new and veteran motorcycle riders enrolled in various MSF classes, ranging from the BRC to the Experienced RiderCoursesm and the MSF DirtBike School sm. Since 1974, nearly 3.5 million people have graduated from MSF RiderCoursessm.
Also at the conference, various government and private organizations will be staffing booths and providing information about a number of safety-related topics and programs. Several new motorcycles and scooters are slated to be on display, in addition to the new Motorcycle Traffic Situation Simulator, complete with a handlebar and clutch, brake and shift levers. And the MSF display room TV monitors will showcase many current training videos and programs.The Human Element
The MSF has titled its conference “The Human Element” because the foundation views the rider, education and safety training as the keys to reducing crashes.
“The automotive world has tended to focus on technology and crash testing,” Buche said. “With motorcycles, it’s more about the human element. Motorcycle safety gear, chassis, tires and brakes all have advanced a great deal over the past few decades. But in the end, it is rider knowledge, reaction, skill, attitude and behavior that make the difference in preventing crashes and minimizing risk. This is where the MSF places its attention, with the world-class Rider Education Training System, the international forum this week, and many ongoing efforts and programs.”
Sponsoring the 2006 International Motorcycle Safety Conference are: the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, the Swiss-based Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme, the Institut für Zweiradsicherheit [German Institute for Motorcycle Safety] , manufacturers BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Victory, Yamaha, and the newest member of the MSF, Triumph Motorcycles.
Membership in the MSF is open to all corporations regularly engaged in the business of manufacturing, importing, or wholesale distribution of motorcycles in the United States.
Since 1973, the MSF has set internationally recognized standards that promote the safety of motorcyclists with rider education courses, operator licensing tests, and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders may enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling. The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha.
For RiderCoursesm locations, call 800-446-9227 or visit www.msf-usa.org.