Motorcycle accidents are a serious problem not only in the US but the whole world. It prompted the follow-up study to the landmark 1981 comprehensive motorcycle safety report commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the US Department of Transportation called the Hurt Report.
The Motorcycle Accidents In Depth Study (MAIDS) was commissioned by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the latest version was made available online in 2009. It is not actually the only large-scale study conducted over motorcycle safety, but it is the only one that made use of the same methodology used for the Hurt Report, allowing a comparison to be made. This methodology is the Motorcycles: Common International Methodology for In-Depth Motorcycle Accident Investigation also called the OECD Common Methodology.
The new report revealed slight but disturbing variations from the findings in the Hurt Report. For one thing, there were more fatalities for people over the age of 40. Over 50% of the fatalities involved a road curve, and while more accidents occurred in urban areas, there was increase of incidents on rural roads.
The importance of these studies is that it brings up issues of motorcycle safety that need to be addressed. For example, human error was identified by both studies as the overwhelming cause of accidents, which can be minimized with proper training programs. The most frequent crash partner was a passenger vehicle, and in both studies, the cause of the accident was poor visibility of the motorcycle rider.
These are merely broad strokes in the minutely detailed reports that would prove invaluable to increasing motorcycle safety if programs based on these findings are designed and implemented properly. At the same time, motorcycle riders and other drivers should be made aware of their obligations when they are on the road. Failure to observe these obligations may be considered negligence if it results in serious injury or death, which in turn can mean civil liability.