MAIDS, the ‘Motorcycle Accidents In Depth Study’,
the first complete European detailed study of motorcycle accidents,
has been welcomed by supporting partners the British Motorcyclists
Federation, as a significant step in tackling motorcycle related
Carried out by the Association of European Motorcycle
Manufacturers (ACEM) with the support of the European Commission
and other partners, including the BMF, FIM (Fédération
Internationale de Motocyclisme), FEMA (Federation of European
Motorcyclists Associations) and CIECA, (the international
commission for driver testing authorities), the investigations*
were carried out over a three year period into 921 accidents
from five countries France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and
Results show that contrary to a continuing perception in
the British media, the rider is not always to blame. In 60%
of accidents a car was involved and in 50% of these cases,
the car driver was to blame. Also, the travelling and impact
speeds for all powered two wheeler (PTW) categories involved
were found to be low, most often below 30mph.
There were relatively few accident cases in which excess
speed was an issue and whilst each sampling area contained
both urban and rural areas, the majority of accidents took
place in an urban environment.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, human error was found to be the cause
of the majority of PTW accidents, the most frequent being
a failure by others to see the PTW within the traffic environment,
either due to a lack of driver attention, temporary view obstructions
or the low conspicuity of the PTW.
The most significant findings as:
In 50% of cases, the primary accident-contributing factor
was human error on the part of the other driver.
Among the primary contributing factors, over 70% of the
other driver’s errors were failure to perceive the
PTW, however, interestingly, other vehicle drivers holding
PTW licences were more likely to see a PTW.
In over 70% of the cases the PTW impact speeds were below
In 37% of cases, the primary contributing factor was
a human error on the part of the PTW rider.
In accident situations, the other driver was found to
have committed more traffic control violations (18%) as
against 8% for the PTW rider
In 13% of all cases, there was a decision failure on
the part of the PTW rider in choosing a poor or incorrect
collision avoidance strategy or failure to see the other
Over 73% of all PTW riders attempted some form of collision
avoidance immediately prior to impact. Of these, 32% experienced
some type of loss of control during the manoeuvre
In 18% of all cases, PTW travelling speeds were either
greater or less than the surrounding traffic flow and
this speed difference was considered to be a contributing
The low involvement of riders between 41 and 55 years
of age suggested they may have a lower risk of being involved
in an accident.
Modified machines were found to be over-represented in
the accident data thus indicting a greater risk. No other
style of bike showed an increased risk.
The number of cases involving alcohol use among the PTW
riders was less than 5%, but such riders were more likely
to be involved in an accident.
In comparison to the exposure data, unlicensed PTW riders,
have a significantly increased risk of being involved
in an accident.
Technical machine problems featured in less than 1% of
the accidents and most of these were related to the tyres.
There were no accidents caused by design or manufacturing
Weather-related problems caused or contributed in only
7.4% of accidents cases
Commenting, BMF Government Relations Executive Richard Olliffe
said: “The BMF is pleased to have been able to support
this invaluable research. Statistical coverage of motorcycle
accidents in the past has been insufficient and confusing;
the causes and analysis have been sadly lacking and therefore
motorcycling has suffered.”
He went on to say: “We would have liked to have had
the UK included, but nevertheless this report provides a good
cross-section of European motorcycling and will stand us in
good stead in our efforts to influence the UK Government’s
The full MAIDS report is available on the BMF’s website,