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Motorcycle driver in front of VTTI entrance

May 6, 2021

As the weather warms up, motorcycle riding season is kicking into full gear. In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) would like to offer some tips and things to consider to keep riders safe on the road:

  • Ride within your ability.
    • You’re excited to get on your bike. How often have you been riding recently?
    • Lack of knowledge or skill can increase a rider’s crash\near-crash risk by nine times. Work in some practice riding. Take it slow.
    • When riding with one or more other riders through curves, risk of crashing or nearly crashing is 15 times higher than when you’re riding by yourself.
  • While taking in the scenery, look out for other vehicles, especially at intersections.
    • Riders are 40 times more likely to get into a crash near an uncontrolled intersection than they are when riding down the highway.
  • Motorcycle riders may not be able to stop as quickly as they think they can.
    • When comparing how hard drivers and riders brake during crashes and near-crashes, VTTI’s data indicates that drivers consistently out-performed riders.
    • In the Motorcycle Safety Foundation 100 Study (MSF100) conducted by VTTI, the most common near-crash is riders nearly running into the back of a vehicle in front of them.
    • When riding, you likely should follow further back than you do in your car.
  • Have you had a crash or a near-crash?
    • Riders who experience one crash or near-crash are likely to experience more than one.
    • In the MSF100, one out of four people accounted for three out of four crashes and near-crashes.
    • If you ‘fall’ into this category, give some thought to what you can do differently.
      • More practice?
      • Give yourself more time for the prep and the ride?
      • Spend some time in a less challenging road environment or parking lot?
      • Take a course?
  • Riding aggressively increases the risk of a crash or near crash by 18 times.

Interested in partnering with VTTI on motorcycle technology and safety research? Visit our Motorcycle Research page to learn more.