Operating a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car. When an accident occurs, motorcyclists are at a greater risk for injury or death than are occupants of a passenger vehicle. The type of motorcycle plays a significant factor as well. For example, a supersport type café racer motorcycle has a death rate almost four times higher than a standard motorcycle. Motorcycle accident reconstruction presents a unique set of circumstances to a accident reconstructionist.
By nature of their single track, a motorcycle has capabilities and limitations not found in 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 typical roadway evidence that is usually used in an accident analysis and reconstruction. Unlike automobiles, most motorcycles use a segregated front/rear braking system, but a few 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’s Motorcycle Reconstruction Approach
Introtech utilizes a multi-disciplined approach to motorcycle accident reconstruction. All the reconstructionists at Introtech have some specialized knowledge, training or experience in order to understand the unique aspects of motorcycle operation, which is necessary to thoroughly investigate motorcycle crashes. In addition to specialized training, one of the Reconstructionists at Introtech, Mr. Hawn, is a long-time motorcycle owner and rider that has 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 normally include:
- Speed of the motorcycle
- Brake performance
- Motorcycle operator strategy and tactics
- Headlight analysis (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 traffic units