Operating a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car. When a crash occurs motorcyclists are a greater risk for injury or death than are occupants of a passenger vehicle. The peak of motorcycle deaths occurred in 2008 and has been falling since that year, but nearly 5,000 deaths motorcycle deaths occur in the U.S. every year. However, the supersport type café racer motorcycles have a death rate almost four times higher than standard motorcycles. Motorcycle crash investigation presents a unique set of circumstances to a crash reconstructionist. By nature of their single track, articulated geometry a motorcycle has capabilities and limitations not found in other 4-wheeled vehicles. The motorcycles themselves differ in their performance and handling characteristics. Large cruiser/touring motorcycles perform much differently than modern sport-bikes which are simply street legal versions of their race bike counterparts. The performance characteristics of modern sport-bikes allow them to both accelerate and decelerate very rapidly without leaving any of the “classic” roadway evidence typically utilized in a crash analysis and reconstruction. Unlike automobiles most motorcycles use a segregated front/rear braking system while a number of motorcycle manufacturers also offer models with integrated braking systems and more recently anti-lock (ABS) brakes and supplemental airbags. The unique braking systems of motorcycles present distinctive challenges to investigators especially when calculating the pre-crash speed of a motorcycle. Similarly, the identification and interpretation of complex roadway evidence from a motorcycle crash requires careful consideration.
Introtech utilizes a multi-disciplined approach to reconstructions involving motorcycles. All of the reconstructionists at Introtech have some specialized knowledge, training or experience in order to understand the unique aspects of motorcycle operation so as to thoroughly investigate those crashes in which involve a motorcycle. In addition to specialized training two of the Reconstructionists at Introtech, Mr. Hawn and Mr. Meyer are long-time motorcycle owners and riders and both have decades of motorcycle riding experience on a variety of different bikes.
The experience of Introtech’s reconstructionists includes not only specialized training and years of actual riding but also experience in live dynamic testing including motorcycle friction tests, conspicuity experiments, speed and deceleration testing.
An in-depth investigation should include :
- Speed of the motorcycle
- Brake performance
- Motorcycle strategy and tactics
- Headlight on or off
- Conspicuity and visibility of the motorcycle
- Use of safety gear such as high visibility clothing and helmets
- Mechanical condition of the motorcycle
- Avoidability issues for motorcycle and other involved units