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Motorcycle crashes potentially preventable by passenger vehicle crash avoidance technology

Teoh, Eric R.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
August 2017

Objective: To identify and quantify the motorcycle crash population that would be potential beneficiaries of the crash avoidance technology available on passenger vehicles.
Methods: Two-vehicle crashes between a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle that occurred during 2011-15 were classified by type, with consideration to functionality of three classes of passenger vehicle crash avoidance technology: front crash prevention, lane maintenance, and blind spot detection. Results were expressed as the percentage of crashes potentially preventable by each type of technology, based on all known types of two-vehicle crashes and based on all crashes involving motorcycles.
Results: Front crash prevention had the largest potential to prevent two-vehicle motorcycle crashes with passenger vehicles: 4 percent of fatal crashes and 13 percent of police-reportable crashes of any severity. The three technologies in sum had the potential to prevent 10 percent of fatal two-vehicle crashes and 23 percent of police-reportable crashes. However, since two-vehicle crashes with a passenger vehicle represent fewer than half of all motorcycle crashes, these technologies represent a potential to avoid 4 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes and 10 percent of all police-reported motorcycle crashes.
Discussion: Refining the ability of passenger vehicle crash avoidance systems to detect motorcycles represents an opportunity to improve motorcycle safety. Expanding the capabilities of these technologies represents an even greater opportunity. However, even fully realizing these opportunities can affect only a minority of motorcycle crashes and does not change the need for other motorcycle safety countermeasures such as helmets, universal helmet laws, and antilock braking systems.