Near Miss Study

Near Miss Accident Survey of Riders – 2009 – Published Report

20th October 2009

Right To Ride publishes today, 20th October 2009, the report “ Near Miss Study of Motorcycles”.

During the months of May through to July 2009, a survey of 257 motorcyclists in Ireland (Northern and Southern) and Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) was carried out.

The purpose of the survey was to find out from motorcyclists, whether they had experienced situations in which they believed they could have crashed and/or been injured (but were able to keep control of their motorcycle) as well as the type of situations they had experienced.

Right To Ride’s Research Analyst, Elaine Hardy says: “The findings of the survey have identified situations that appear to be more prevalent for motorcyclists, which are the potential for collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles, followed by problems with the conditions of roads and road infrastructure.”

A focus group was convened to gather the views of motorcycle experts, to discuss the results of the survey and to consider issues relating to road safety and casualty reduction.

The findings of the survey identified situations that are prevalent in near miss events, while the focus group identified underlying factors, such as the variations in training in different countries as well as the impact of both positive and negative advertising on rider behaviour.

Right To Ride’s Trevor Baird says: “We need to include all stakeholders, such as experienced motorcyclists and trainers, because they are on the front line and have the knowledge of why motorcycle crashes happen in the first place.”

“These active and experienced individuals are able to provide expert advice to the government in order to find solutions to reduce the number of motorcycle casualties.”

Right To Ride met recently with officials from the Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development and Department of the Environment. The highly focused meeting considered motorcycle safety strategies aimed at improving motorcycle road usage in general and at reducing road casualties.

Information

Download the Near Miss Study Click Here pdf 1.37mb

Download the Abstract Click Here pdf 151kb

“A Survey You Can’t Miss” – Belfast Telegraph

David Neely writes in his “On Two Wheels” column in the Belfast Telegraph about the Right To Ride Near Miss Survey.

David continues, “if you have been riding for any length of time”, or “if you’ve been on a bikes for more years than you remember, you’ll have had more near misses than you would shake a stick at.”

Commenting on the “Near Miss Study of Motorcycles” David says, “Whilst some of it’s findings are not unexpected, it’s invaluable because the author has analysed and presented the information she collected from an internet questionnaire in a scientific manner.”

David pulls out of the study some examples of a few experiences of riders who replied, “driver doing a u-turn without looking; driver using a mobile phone turned across me; car driver changing lanes without indicating; guy pulled out and travelled on wrong side of road towards me to turn right into a junction which I had just passed and an elderly car driver drove through a red light.”

“And one which regular users of the Antrim Coast road will be familiar. ‘Just south of Glenarm the road surface, when wet, has the coefficient of dieselised plastic.”

As David commented, “l rode on this stretch of road just a couple of weeks ago in the wet and felt my back tyre moving slightly. In places you’re riding on pure tar.”

“A very small number of respondents admitted that near misses were their own fault. One set down his experiences. “Running wide missing a junction, messing up an overtake (between cars) and just before junctions.”

“257 riders from Northern Ireland, the Republic and Great Britain were surveyed.”

Our thanks to David Neely and the Belfast Telegraph for featuring the Near Miss Study.

Belfast Telegraph Website: www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Comments on Near Miss Study Report

United States (USA) Motorcycle Journalist Wendy Moon has written an article regarding the Near Miss study.

She has made particular reference to the following and how these relate to the United States:

“The view of the participants was that there is a systemic failure on the part of the authorities in all three countries to provide adequate training and relevant testing for motorcyclists and car drivers.”

“This is especially significant since training and testing is far more rigorous in the UK than in the USA and there’s a significant portion of both that’s conducted in traffic.”

“The focus group thought that more people didn’t take advanced training or assessment courses because it was too expensive and/or people didn’t think it was important.”

“That there was no significant statistical difference between those who had and those who hadn’t when it came to any kind of (survivable) crash may be exactly why more riders don’t think its important – somehow, on a gut level, they may sense that in their own experience – more training doesn’t make a significant difference?

“MSF* (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) has extended its Discovery Project for another year – but at the halfway point, MSF wasn’t getting the results they wanted – MSF training products weren’t showing further training was effective or that they could easily get people to come back for more.”

“It will be interesting if MSF’s study of its own product (that the taxpayers paid for almost half) comes up with different results that so many other studies – including this last one.

“At some point, rider educators are going to have to accept that study after study cannot be wrong and that there’s something wrong with the curricular products currently available.”

“Or they may have to think outside the box and figure out why training doesn’t make riders safer and what kind of training would.”

In direct reference to the near Miss Report, Wendy comments that, “Unfortunately, while the report gives us information about the causes of near – misses, it doesn’t explore why the crash didn’t occur – how the rider avoided the crash successfully – and that’s the critical issue when it comes to increasing rider safety.”

“It is to be hoped that Right to Ride will continue to explore near-misses along those lines in the future.”

Read the full Article Click Here

* MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) – is a national, not-for-profit organization promoting the safety of motorcyclists with programs in rider training, operator licensing and public information.

The MSF is sponsored by the U.S. manufacturers and distributors of BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha motorcycles.

www.msf-usa.org

The Norwegian Motorcycle Union (NMCU)

Our our friends and former FEMA – colleagues at NMCU – Norsk Motorcykkel Union* Norway have published on their website our Near Miss report, stretching it’s influence into the European continent.

View the website report Click Here naturally in Norwegian or place the link into Goggle “Translate” Click Here

* NMCU was formed in 1972 and is the sole organisation looking after the interests of Norwegian road-riding motorcyclists.

NMCU has 15.000 individual members from more than 500 member clubs.

NMCU is lead by a Management Committee, elected at the Annual General Meeting. The organization has Regional Committees in several of Norway’s 19 counties and keeps a Secretariat (the NMCU Office) with three fulltime employees, handling the day-to-day business.

Special committees are responsible for Road Safety, Touring and Insurance.

NMCU also holds a seat in the National Motorcycling Council, a consultative body with the other members representing the Department for Transport, the Police, the Norwegian Road Safety Agency and the Industry.

Internationally, NMCU is an active member of the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations

www.nmcu.org

Near Miss Accident Survey of Riders – 2009 – You Missed It! – Snapshot

21st September 2009

During the months of May through to July 2009, a survey of 257 motorcyclists in Ireland (Northern and Southern) and Great Britain was carried out through the internet.

The purpose of the survey was to find out from motorcyclists, whether they had experienced situations in which they believed they could have crashed and/or been injured (but were able to keep control of their motorcycle) as well as the type of situations they had experienced.

Overall, 78.2% of the respondents gave details of their experience of near miss situations.

The findings of the survey have identified situations that appear to be more prevalent for motorcyclists, which are the potential for collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles, followed by problems with the conditions of roads and road infrastructure.

The survey was divided into three sections.

  • The first section requested information about the rider, including age, sex, location of residence, type of licence and testing/training.
  • The second section asked questions about the motorcycle: category, type and make of motorcycle, mileage, years riding and seasons.
  • The third section asked the respondent whether he/she had been involved in a collision either with another vehicle or a single vehicle crash, with or without injuries as well as whether the rider had had a “near miss accident”.

The “near miss” questions gave a selection of 26 potential answers divided into four categories: skidding, loss of traction, loss of control and braking or swerving. A further question asked the respondent to comment on any other “near miss” experience

Snap Shot Findings

From the findings from this survey, 75 riders indicated that their motorcycle skidded and of these 34.7% (n.26) indicated that this was due to “to slippery or loose road surface (e.g. paint or worn asphalt), loose gravel” while 28% (n.21) indicated that this was “due to oil spillage on the road”

  • 53 riders replied that they had lost the grip of their motorcycle and 45.3% (n.24) of these stated that this was due to potholes or grooves in the road; in equal measure 17% (n.9) commented that their loss of grip was due to lack of focus and travelling too fast for the conditions.
  • 56 riders replied that they had nearly lost control of their motorcycle and of these, 32.1% (n.18) stated that this was due to road markings or over-banding), a further 30.4% (n.17) indicated that this occurred at a curve and a further 26.8% (n.15) indicated that this occurred at a junction.
  • 165 of the 201 (82.1%) riders that replied to these questions answered that they had to either swerve and/or brake because of another vehicle or pedestrian entering into their space. In fact 40.6% (n.67) answered that they had to swerve and/or brake because another vehicle had entered their path from either a side road, private driveway or opposite direction. This was followed by 15.2% (n.25) who stated that the other vehicle had changed lanes on the motorway in front of them and 13.9% (n.23) indicated that the other vehicle had crossed over into the rider’s lane and was coming towards them.

Finally, the respondents were asked to describe in their own words any other near miss experience.

Of the 201 riders who replied that they had a near miss accident, 36.3% (n.73) answered this question. However, in five of the responses, the riders indicated that there was more than one cause of their near miss experiences) therefore the total of the responses are n.78. Of these, 61.5% (n.48) considered the other vehicle (mainly car) as the cause of the near miss.

The responses to this question support the replies to the previous questions, highlighting that the majority experienced a near miss due to the actions of other vehicles and due to road conditions, however 7.7% of the respondents also accepted that their own actions were the cause of the near miss.

These (actions of other road users, road conditions and own fault) are not necessarily mutually exclusive, which gives researchers and policy makers an opportunity to understand more fully what action could be taken preventatively to avoid or evade potential collisions and even crashes.

Background

The survey began at the end of May 2009 and ran for two months and was published through the Write To Ride website and newsletter, our riders and motorcycle club contact list, News Feed, Facebook Experiment and various motorcycle forums in Northern Ireland, Southern Ireland and Great Britain.

We would like to thank those who commented separately on the survey and helped us to promote it to fellow riders.

The survey for riders of motorcycles (and derivatives: mopeds and scooters) focused on near miss accidents.

The objective of the survey was to provide evidence as to why collisions with other road users and road infrastructure occur.

(A near miss accident is a situation where you believe you could have crashed and/or been injured, but were able to keep control of your motorcycle).

Analysis

257 riders replied to the survey – evenly divided amongst Northern Ireland, Southern Ireland and Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). 78% of those who answered had a near miss, which has provided a lot of information. We aim to publish the report in mid September 2009.

Elaine Hardy

Research at Right To Ride

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