Other Vehicle Design
Roadway design, maintenance, and construction are generally directed
toward the needs of multi-wheel vehicles, with the needs of motorcycles
often addressed as an afterthought.
Poor road design and maintenance contribute to motorcycle crashes,
injuries, and fatalities. A variety of common road conditions and
design factors can pose hazards to motorcyclists. Debris on the
road can also cause a motorcycle to crash. In addition, roadside
objects may create an injury mechanism for a motorcyclist.
Current highway standards permit pavement ridges of up
to 1.5 inches without tapering, which pose a significant hazard
Potholes are a hazard that can cause motorcycle crashes.
Slick materials that interfere with traction are applied
to road surfaces with increasing frequency. A motorcycles
traction can be seriously compromised by bituminous rubberized
asphalt sealer used for
crack repair and plasticized adhesive pavement-marking tape.
Fluid spills can cause loss of traction and a resulting
Roadway debris poses a greater hazard to motorcycles than
to larger vehicles. Debris can deflect a motorcycles wheel
when it is struck.
| Metal road surface components, either temporary
or permanent, offer almost no traction, and when wet, may also be
the most difficult to see.
Many roadside barriers designed to retain cars and reduce
injuries to automobile occupants are deadly to motorcyclists who
collide with them. Wire-rope barriers are one example, but a motorcycle
or the body of a fallen motorcyclist can also strike portions
of other barrier designs in ways that an automobile cannot, causing
severe injuries. Other roadside fixtures, such as signage, which
may yield when struck by a car, can injure a motorcyclist who
hits them. Even curbs can be deadly to a fallen rider who slides
Current work-zone signage practices may not adequately
address the safety needs of motorcyclists.
WE WANT TO BE
We would like road design, construction, and maintenance procedures
to accommodate the safety needs of motorcyclists.
Motorcyclists should have the skills necessary to detect and
avoid roadway hazards (see Crash
Avoidance Skills, page 23).
TO GET THERE
Roadway engineers and other traffic designers need to elevate the
placement of motorcycle safety dynamics as a consideration in design,
construction, and maintenance of roadways at all levels of oversightfederal,
state, county, and local. This may also benefit the safety of other