|SAFETY ISSUES MIRRORED IN USA
July 3 2005.
In response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration release of early results from the 2004 Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (www.msf-usa.org) urged riders and motorists to help reduce motorcycle crashes through basic awareness, removing alcohol from the riding environment, taking approved rider training courses, and wearing proper protective gear. The MSF also is calling for President Bush to sign into law the transportation reauthorization bill H.R. 3, the "Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users." This extensive highway funding bill was passed by Congress on July 29 and contains several significant motorcycle-related provisions.
Most important, the bill includes grants for a new motorcycle crash causation study. More than $2.8 million over two years would be allocated for in-depth motorcycle accident investigation. In addition, the bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to make grants to states that adopt and implement programs that effectively reduce the number of crashes involving motorcyclists. A total of $25 million over four years would be available to states working to improve and expand motorcycle safety training and also enhance public awareness campaigns.
"One fatality is one too many, and we urge riders to take vital safety precautions, and we ask that all roadway users look for motorcyclists on the road and respect their right to be there," said MSF President Tim Buche. "Motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities cannot be attributed to one clear cause. MSF supports funding of a comprehensive government motorcycle crash causation study. This could enable significant safety gains by providing a better understanding of countermeasures that have been effective and what new countermeasures may be necessary to reduce future crashes and injuries. An updated, in-depth crash investigation study is the only way to identify current crash causation factors."
The highway funding bill also would establish a motorcyclist advisory council to coordinate with and advise the Federal Highway Administration on issues of infrastructure, such as barrier and road design, maintenance practices, and intelligent transportation system technologies. The council would include members of the motorcycling community.
Also included in the bill are provisions for a study on educational, public information, and other activities aimed at reducing fatalities and injuries where the motorcycle operator is impaired. The bill continues to authorize motorcycles to ride out of the major flow of freeway traffic by allowing the use high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, unless states demonstrate that it would present a safety hazard.
2006 International Motorcycle Safety Conference
Alongside efforts to reduce fatalities through legislation, the MSF is working to improve motorcycle safety by many other means. The MSF has announced its next International Motorcycle Safety Conference, to be held March 28-30, 2006, in Long Beach, Calif. Hundreds of the world's foremost two-wheel experts will convene at a special forum, titled "The Human Element," to review and discuss the latest research in motorcycle safety and accident countermeasures, including a European crash causation study. With worldwide support, the conference will feature presentations by various members of university programs, government agencies, rider organizations, training professionals, and the industry itself. The information shared by all of these entities will be used in future programs and research efforts to help improve motorcycle safety. It will be the first of two conferences slated for 2006, the second one coming later that year in Germany. Both of these global sessions will further sharpen the focus of the motorcycle safety community.
Every year, the month of May is set aside as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The focus of this special designation is on highway and traffic safety issues concerning motorcyclists, providing motorists an opportunity to become familiar with the motorcyclist's view of the highway, and raising roadway users' awareness of motorcyclists on the road.
"Drivers, not motorcyclists, cause more than two-thirds of car-motorcycle crashes," Buche said. "The driver either does not see the motorcyclist, or sees him or her too late to avoid a crash. Working together, we can make a difference in reducing crashes and make motorists more aware of motorcycles on the road."
To reach motorists, the MSF recently developed and distributed a new public service announcement that has, to date, aired 743 times and has been viewed by more than 11 million people nationwide. On an ongoing basis, the MSF proactively works with local and national media to highlight safety messages and training programs in print, broadcast, and online media coverage. Also, available Sept. 1, a series of four new, attention-grabbing MSF billboards will ask motorists to be on the lookout for motorcycle riders and share the roads.
In addition, MSF asks states to evaluate their driver education curriculum to ensure that defensive driving as well as awareness of motorcycles and other vulnerable roadway users is adequately addressed. Later this year, the MSF will release an updated version of its Common Road video, which schools can use to reinforce their traffic safety messages.
According to the current NHTSA report, 34 percent of motorcyclists in all types of crashes were under the influence of alcohol. In addition, prior data from NHTSA ("Motorcycle Riders in Fatal Crashes" -- June 2004) show that alcohol is still a factor in more than half of all single-vehicle motorcycle crashes. MSF continues to implore motorcyclists to not drink and ride and offers training and education activities to create safety awareness.
The MSF Riding Straight Module featuring the Innocorp Ltd. Fatal Vision(R) Simulator Goggles is an educational package for use by MSF-certified RiderCoaches, motorcycle clubs, and other groups to encourage participants and peers to never combine drinking and riding.
Education and Training
The MSF calls upon all riders, and prospective riders, to seek training and to recognize that regular, ongoing training makes motorcycling safer and more enjoyable. Each year, in virtually every state, for the general public and for armed services personnel, more than 7,000 MSF-certified RiderCoaches(SM) teach motorcycle classes at more than 1,100 sites. The number of RiderCourse students trained both nationally and overseas, at civilian and military sites, will exceed 300,000 this year alone.
The MSF's Basic RiderCourse(SM) (BRC) was first implemented in March 2001, and now has been adopted by 47 states and all branches of the armed services. The BRC introduced research-based, adult learning principles into rider education that have revolutionized the connection between RiderCoaches(SM) and students and have greatly improved the learning process. The Experienced RiderCourse (ERC) Suite is a set of three distinct MSF RiderCourses that are taught by MSF-certified RiderCoaches and designed for BRC graduates and motorcyclists who already possess basic skills.
New training aids released in April 2005 include three videos: Controls, Ready to Ride, and Under the Influence. A new standalone classroom training module, Seasoned Rider, due to be released in late summer of 2005, addresses the special needs of mature and re-entry riders and includes an all-new classroom training video. In addition, the MSF recently launched its new ScooterSchool 1 RiderCourse for entry-level riders in this popular market segment.
The MSF plans to continue to develop and release new programs and materials for motorcyclists as part of its expanding Rider Education and Training System(SM). More courses also will aid the nation's rider training programs in meeting the challenge of fulfilling the unmet demand of motorcyclists who are seeking knowledge and skills training.
Since its inception in 1973, the MSF has supported state, military, and independent programs in training approximately three million motorcyclists to ride safely. The number of students trained has grown steadily, including an estimated increase of almost 10 percent in 2004 versus 2003.
Most activities have their own suitable protective gear and equipment, and motorcycling is no exception. Protective gear has two basic purposes: comfort and protection from the elements. In the event of a crash, protective gear will help prevent or reduce injuries. MSF educational materials and training emphasize that every rider and passenger should wear a full complement of protective gear, which includes: over-the-ankle footwear, long pants, a long-sleeved jacket, full-fingered motorcycle gloves, and a helmet manufactured to meet DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) standards.
MSF Key Recommendations
Observations from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) point to key issues of safety concern for motorcyclists: alcohol, rider skill, licensing, protective gear, and other roadway users. These issues are the basis for the MSF's long-standing safety recommendations to motorcyclists, which are:
1. Get trained and licensed.
2. Be a lifelong learner.
3. Wear protective gear.
4. Ride Straight.
5. Ride within your limits.
MSF Mission Statement
To make motorcycling safer and more enjoyable by ensuring access to lifelong quality education and training for current and prospective riders, and by advocating a safer riding environment.