Bike The Hurt Study on Motorcycle Accident Causes

The Hurt Report is often referenced among motorcycle enthusiasts, however, not everyone knows exactly what it means. On I was able to get the lowdown on the Hurt report (named for the author, not for the injury).

Bikes are bigger, and better engineered than they were in 1981, but a lot of the findings still stand. A lot of this is also why I’m a safety-minded biker, not a sexy biker.

Hurt’s Conclusions

Conspicuity. Better visibility from the front reduces the ‘right of way’ accidents. Since Hurt, always-on bike lights has probably changed this issue. Better visibility from the back and brake lights reduces rear-ending when stopped in traffic.

Training and Rider Skills. Hurt thought that most of the 25% of single-bike crashes were due to poor rider skills. He also said that better riding skills would have reduced the number and severity of many of the multi-vehicle crashes. There seems to be wide agreement that improved rider training reduces both the number of crashes and their severity.

Motorcycle condition is the cause of only 3% of crashes. We think this is still important because it is a gimme. It is the 3% that we can control. Other studies suggest that bikers are killed more often when the motorcycle has a technical defect especially tires and brakes, even when the bike defect is not the actual cause of the crash.

Hurt had a lot to say about helmets and riding gear. These reduce injury.

Speed was not a major causative issue. Again, technical improvements in bikes had probably moved this issue along.

via Bike The Hurt Study on Motorcycle Accident Causes.

I strongly believe that everyone who is interested in riding should take a basic skills course. I prefer the MSF course, but there’s other courses available, too.

To find a safety course through the MSF, click here to find a local motorcycle safety course. They also have quite a few safety oriented titles available in the iTunes store, here.

You can also talk to your local motorcycle dealerships, as well as local biker churches, and they probably have classes of their own, often taught by MSF-trained instructors.


Michigan’s standard MSF courses through local colleges are normally $25. However, they fill up quickly, and sometimes it’s really difficult to get into one. At Riders University, they have a scholarship that you can apply to if you’re not able to afford the cost of a class.

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