MAIDS LAID BARE – Accident study results

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 casualties

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 Italy.

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 30 mph

  • 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 vehicle.

  • 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 factor.

  • 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 defects.

  • 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 motorcycling strategy.”

The full MAIDS report is available on the BMF’s website,

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