Motorcycles and the Hurt Report

Motorcycle accidents occur as the result of a number of different vehicles. Because of a motorcycle rider’s exposure, even a seemingly minor accident can cause a great deal of damage, both to the rider or riders and to the expensive equipment involved. Prof. Harry Hurt is responsible for a landmark study on the nature of motorcycle accidents. Though the results of this extensive research were published in 1981, most research performed since confirms that the majority of the Hurt Report, as it is commonly referred to as, is still relevant to the nature of motorcycle accidents that occur today.

The intention of the Hurt Report was to effectively observe and categorize data about motorcycle accidents so that greater and more effective steps could be taken to reduce accidents and the injuries they cause. One of the most crucial findings in the Hurt Report was that nearly 75% of motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle, most frequently, passenger cars. This information has resulted in increased public awareness of the risk other drivers can place on motorcyclists if they are not aware of their surroundings.

Of those collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles, just over 65% were caused by cars violating the right-of-way of motorcyclists. Drivers of automobiles need to be aware that though the regulations regarding motorcycles and cars are not particularly the same, motorcycles do follow the same traffic standards as any other vehicle. This is true in procedures at intersections as well. The Hurt Report concluded that intersections were common locations for motorcycle incidents for a variety of reasons, including other drivers disregard of the right-of-way of a motorcycle.

The nature of a motorcycle greatly increases the potential for harm to its operator. This is true even before an accident occurs. The Hurt Report concluded that on average, a motorcyclist has two seconds to perform an evasive maneuver and completely avoid an accident. This poses more physical risk for a motorcyclist whose ability to avoid an accident requires more physical response than that of a driver of a car. Because of this, it is crucial for other drivers to be aware of the presence of motorcyclists on the roadways and to be sure to not drive in a way that unnecessarily compromises their safety.

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