The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Motorcycle Safety Program

January 2003

INTRODUCTION

RECENT TRENDS

NHTSA’S KNOWLEDGE BASE

NHTSA’S MOTORCYCLE SAFETY PROGRAM

CRASH PREVENTION

INJURY MITIGATION

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

CONCLUSION

REFERENCE

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MOTORCYCLE OPERATIONAL SAFETY:  BRAKING AND CONSPICUITY

It is also important to monitor the motorcycle crash experience to facilitate identification of potential factors that may hamper safe operation and rider safety. Motorcycle designs have changed significantly over the past 20 years. Today, a majority of the motorcycles on our roadways are sport bikes and cruisers – models that did not exist in the 1970’s. Engine sizes have increased, suspension systems have drastically changed and frame design and construction have improved. At the same time, fuel tanks have changed, the industry has experienced tire and wheel improvements and there has even been an introduction of interconnected brake systems. In single vehicle motorcycle crashes, about 13 percent of fatalities have been related to a braking maneuver used during the crash, even though braking performance may not have been a contributing factor in the crash. In addition, about 9 percent of the fatalities have been related to steering maneuvers. A primary interest will center on determining whether present Federal requirements for effective braking action need to be revised to more closely reflect new technology already available in the marketplace. A major issue will involve evaluation of how changes in motorcycle operation and design features affect rider safety and performance.

NHTSA’s Motorcycle Operational Safety Program:

    arrow Study Motorcycle Braking Technological Advances, Quantify Braking Performance, and Conduct Benchmarking for Different Systems.  In the area of braking technology, braking systems are radically different in the current fleet. NHTSA will study two technological advances in the area of braking – linked brakes and anti-lock braking systems – in real-world situations as a means for determining overall effectiveness and judging whether major modifications must be made to motorcyclist training curriculum to accommodate their performance and adequately train new motorcyclists. In September 2002, NHTSA and Transport Canada started a joint research project on motorcycle braking. The objective of this testing program is to compare the levels of stringency of three motorcycle braking standards (FMVSS No. 122, ECE Regulation No. 78, and Japan Safety Standard 12-61). This program will also assess the effectiveness of ABS versus a non-ABS equipped motorcycle in various braking maneuvers, such as on dry pavement in a curve and in straight-line braking on a wet asphalt surface. The agency hopes to use the test data to support its motorcycle brake harmonization proposals.   Targeted completion date – 2004

    arrow Analyze Available Crash Data and Conduct Appropriate Research to Consider Effective Countermeasures for Improving Motorcycle Conspicuity.  The agency will analyze available and relevant data to determine the need for conducting research on motorcycle conspicuity. If additional research is deemed necessary, it will address potential countermeasures for improving motorcycle conspicuity. Based on the research findings, the agency will decide if new requirements should be proposed in rulemaking. Possible rulemaking actions may include mandatory requirements for motorcycle daytime running lamps (DRLs), side marker lamps and modulating headlamps. Targeted completion date – 2005

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