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3 Vehicle Technologies that Could Reduce Motorcycle Crashes

Jason Reese


  • Leading motor vehicle technologists are saying one of the best accident prevention methods is to have more operators driving vehicles with active in-vehicle safety systems.
  • Several cars and trucks are being built with technology that can help drivers avoid or mitigate a crash in all sorts of situations, but most helpful in the prevention of fatal accidents between motorcycles and passenger vehicles.
  • A recent study supported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that in-vehicle technologies related to frontal crash prevention show the largest potential to stop the increase in crashes between motorcycles and passenger vehicles.
  • Key active safety systems highlighted in the study include frontal crash prevention, lane maintenance, and blind spot detection, all aimed to warn a driver who is following too closely behind a motorcycle.

Study Says 3 In-Vehicle Technologies Could Prevent Motorcycle Crashes

A recent study published in May, 2018 and supported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), concluded that despite considerable improvements in motor vehicle safety over the last 20 years, mortality and morbidity attributed to motorcycle trauma has remained stable or increased. Motorcycle crashes cause far more fatalities and extensive medical costs than car accidents and severe injuries are 10 times more likely with motorcycle operators if they crash. As road safety focus is shifting from protecting people in a crash to preventing that crash from ever happening, a closer look at what is being done to reduce motorcycle operator injury and death rates is a good place to start.

Study highlights include the need to “identify and quantify the motorcycle crash population could potentially benefit crash avoidance technologies” recently made available on passenger vehicles. Researchers worked to review three classes of passenger vehicle crash avoidance technologies: frontal crash prevention, lane maintenance, and blind spot detection.

  1. Frontal Crash Prevention: Some safety researchers say this feature will be more important than airbags or seatbelts when it comes to saving lives. Frontal crash prevention systems watch the road ahead with cameras or radar looking for vehicles, pedestrians, wildlife and even motorcycles. If the system detects a potential collision risk, it warns the driver to take action or even prime the brakes and steering to ready the vehicle for quick maneuvers. The warning alone reduces rear-end crashes by 27 percent, according to the IIHS.
  2. Lane Maintenance: Lane departure warning will alert the driver with beeps or dashboard lights or even by vibrating the steering wheel if the car is drifting out of its and will try to steer a vehicle back into its lane. The IIHS found that lane departure warning systems that beeped were frequently turned off by owners.
  3. Blind Spot Detection: If there’s a vehicle sitting in a driver’s blind spot, a monitoring system will alert with a warning light inside or near side mirrors. Some systems will vibrate the steering wheel in an effort to get the driver to pause and look over their shoulder. “Blind spot detection has been shown to reduce lane-change crashes by 14 per cent,” according to an IIHS study.

The results of this study were heavily conclusive in that frontal crash prevention technologies had the largest potential to prevent motorcycle vs. passenger vehicle crashes. Additionally, the three technologies when working together had the potential to prevent 10 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes and 23 percent of police-reported crashes.

Expanding the capabilities of these technologies represents the next great opportunity to improve motorcycle safety. But researchers are also strong in stating, “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 anti-lock braking systems.”

Motorcycle Operator Rules for Hoosier Roadways

While evolving technologies are exciting and can aid in the prevention of road deaths, the most logical way to minimize injuries and road fatalities is by keeping bikes and cars out of each other’s way. Reviewing these simple ride rules for motorcycle enthusiasts will help Hoosiers live a long-lasting, accident free motorcycle riding life.

  • Be noticeable. Make yourself and your motorcycle as visible as possible. Leave your headlights turned on at all times. Wear brightly colored clothing that makes you more noticeable. Don’t drive in the blind spots of other vehicles.
  • Communication is key. Always use turn signals and check to be sure your intentions are noticed before you change lanes or pull out into traffic. Use your horn if you think someone hasn’t seen you and alert them of your presence and intentions.
  • Never drive distracted or under the influence. Do not drink, use drugs, or take prescription medications that can cause drowsiness or other impairment. Never use a cell phone to dial, talk, or text while driving or operating a motorcycle.
  • Check for pavement. Gravel can prove hazardous to motorcyclists due to loss of traction, so know what you are driving on. Always avoid sudden braking or veering on gravel. Sudden acceleration can cause you to lose control.
  • Be nice to your bike. Regularly maintain your motorcycle properly and undertake repairs when needed.
  • Seek out road hazards. Be on the lookout for potholes, down branches, leaves and debris piles, and cracks in the road. Keep your eyes on the road ahead to avoid hitting something that could cause an accident.
  • Slow it down and don’t speed. If you can’t avoid a pothole or debris, slow down as much as possible to lessen the chance of loss of control or damage to your tires and wheels.
  • Wear a helmet and the gear. Motorcycle helmets remain the best protection against a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In fact, a helmet reduces the risk of a head injury by 69 percent and death by 37 percent if a crash were to occur. It’s important to also wear the right gear though since helmets help prevent head injuries but don’t protect the rest of the body.

The latest available data form the Government Accounting Office (GAO) shows that motorcycle crashes cost $16 billion in direct costs such as emergency services, medical costs including rehabilitation, property damage, loss of market productivity including lost wages, loss in household productivity and insurance costs, including claims and the cost of defense attorneys.

Experienced Indiana Motorcycle Lawyers

Even the finest technologies and best motorcycle operators can’t prevent every accident from happening. Simply put, the careless actions of another driver can still lead to a devastating motorcycle accident. Wagner Reese has a team of experienced Indiana motorcycle accident injury attorneys here for you. We are the best choice to represent you in your claim for damages caused in a motorcycle or related car accident. We want to assist you on your road to recovery by lessening the load of medical bills and other expenses incurred by your motorcycle accident.

Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today at (888) 204-8440 for your FREE consultation. You can also share additional details with us by submitting our online form.


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