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bookNew South Wales, 2003-2007 Study

This information is small and partial, and compiled from crash reports. But NSW have standardized crash reports and fair quality control, and the information is so radically different from Hurt and the accepted wisdom in the US, that we want to look at it.

The report is here.

Based on 11,729 crashes in five years, the study authors found that :

Pie chartThe study did not actually allocate blame, but it did identify the 'key vehicle' whose movement precipitated the crash.

This is generally in accord with Maids, who found that 37 percent of crashes were caused by the cage driver entering the bike right of way.

It looks like a total of 65 percent of crashes were the fault of the biker - either single-vehicle or the motorcycle was the key vehicle.


Interesting Results

In the 42 percent of single vehicle crashes, a full half of them happened on a straight road. This challenges the conventional wisdom that cornering is the key single-bike issue. We don't have a theory about the straightway individual crashes. Only 13% of them involved any kind of road hazard.

Rear-end collisions caused 19 percent of crashes - roughly double the Hurt proportion - and the majority of these (59 percent) were the biker's fault. The study author recommends a 3-second gap, more than the MSF recommendation, but still not enough for highway speeds in our view.

In the 8 percent of head-on collisions, the biker was at fault 72% of the time, mostly not in overtaking situations, but on corners.

Riders aged 25 and under owned 9% of the motorcycles but had 29% of all crashes.


It is hard to make conclusions about riding in the USA based on studies from elsewhere.

If we make a few assumptions - such as sports bikes being more favored by younger riders, and speed being a factor in the increase in straightway single bike accidents and bike-caused rear-enders, it looks like speed might be more of an issue than it was with Hurt.

The startling conclusion is that bikes are the cause of more accidents than cages. This has amost flipped from the Hurt 75/25 ratio to 35/65, in NSW. As our Maids study suggests, this is probably not entirely due to cage drivers seeing bikers more.

Some possible causes might be: more speeding by bikers, more alcohol and drug consumption and a possible decrease in biker skill levels.

We just don't know, but this is just one in a constellation of suggestions that the majority of bike crashes are now the fault of the biker.