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Mid-America Transportation Center

Improving Safety of the Surface Transportation System by Addressing the Issues of Vulnerable Road Users: Case of the Motorcyclists

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Sunanda Dissanayake (sunanda@ksu.edu 785-532-1540)
  • Graduate Students
  • Mohammad Saad Shaheed
  • Project Status
    Complete
    Sponsors & Partners
  • Mid-America Transportation Center
  • Kansas Department of Transportation
  • Kansas State University
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    While there are some highway safety improvements achieved in certain categories, number and percentage of motorcycle crashes have increased significantly in the United States. Accordingly, it is necessary to pay focused attention to the topic and in this study, it is proposed to study and analyze crash data related to motorcyclists with the intention of identifying problem areas and issues relevent to motor cycle safety.
    Research Objective
    The main objective is to identify the problem areas and issues related to motorcycle safety by considering a crash data set that includes all levels of severity. In addition, relation between helmet use and motorcycle safety will also be established.
    Potential Benefits
    Results of this project could be used to develop guidelines for improving motorcycle safety.
    Abstract
    While there are some highway safety improvements achieved in certain categories, number and percentage of motorcycle crashes have increased significantly in the United States. In 2006, 4,810 motorcyclists were killed in US, an increase of 5 percent over 4,576 killed in 2005 (1). Injury crashes also increased from 87,000 to 88,000. Additionally, motorcycle crash rates tend to be more severe than crashes involving other vehicles. In year 2006, crash rate per 100,000 registered vehicles for motorcycles, passenger cars and light trucks were 71.94, 13.01 and 12.95 respectively. Based on 100 million Vehicle Miles Traveled, the corresponding differences in rates were even more significant, where the rates were 38.79, 1.1 and 1.1 respectively. This is a clear deterioration of the safety situation association with motorcycles as compared to 1996 (1). In Kansas, the situation seems to be even more critical when it comes to motorcycle-related fatalities, irrespective of the significant improvements achieved in reducing the total number of motor vehicle fatalities. For example, in 2006, number of motorcycle crashes as a percentage of total crashes is 1%, but motorcycles accounted for 12.4% of all fatal crashes, indicating motorcycle riders as more vulnerable than other road users. In 2000, only 3.2% of all fatal crashes in Kansas were motorcycle crashes, which increased four times to 12.4 by 2006. If the country and states such as Kansas are to keep on reducing total fatalities and to achieve the goals of Strategic Highway Safety Plans developed by all states, it is extremely important to look at motorcycle crashes to identify the characteristics so that problem areas could be identified. Accordingly, this study will focus on motorcycle crash data from the state of Kansas with the intention of identifying the problem or critical areas needing further attention.
    Project Amount
    $ 89,170
    Modal Orientation
  • Safety and Human Performance