The most common type of conflict in which a motorcyclist is injured or killed is a collision between a motorcycle and a car, often in priority situations. Many studies on motorcycle safety focus on the question why car drivers fail to give priority and on the poor conspicuity of motorcycles. The concept of ‘looked-but-failed-to-see’ crashes is a recurring item. On the other hand, it is not entirely unexpected that motorcycles have many conflicts with cars; there simply are so many cars on the road. This paper tries to unravel whether – acknowledging the differences in exposure – car drivers indeed fail to yield for motorcycles more often than for other cars. For this purpose we compared the causes of crashes on intersections (e.g. failing to give priority, speeding, etc.) between different crash types (car–motorcycle or car–car). In addition, we compared the crash causes of dual drivers (i.e. car drivers who also have their motorcycle licence) with regular car drivers. Our crash analysis suggests that car drivers do not fail to give priority to motorcycles relatively more often than to another car when this car/motorcycle approaches from a perpendicular angle. There is only one priority situation where motorcycles seem to be at a disadvantage compared to cars. This is when a car makes a left turn, and fails to give priority to an oncoming motorcycle. This specific crash scenario occurs more often when the oncoming vehicle is a motorcycle than when it is a car. We did not find a significant difference between dual drivers and regular car drivers in how often they give priority to motorcycles compared to cars.
A different perspective on conspicuity related motorcycle crashes
Accident Analysis & Prevention
63 (February 2014)