The paper “Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures" is known as “The Hurt Report”.  It is the only comprehensive study ever done about the causes of motorcycle accidents on American roads and highways.  The study was directed by Dr. Hugh H. Hurt at the University of Southern California in 1979.  Although, 30 years have passed since the study was published, its findings remain relevant.
The Hurt report was so detailed, that the findings must be split into several articles.  In this article, I will emphasize the causes of motorcycle accidents.
  Findings from the Hurt Report
1.    About 75% of motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle.  In most cases, the other vehicle is a passenger car.
2.    In two-thirds of multi-vehicle accidents, the driver of the larger vehicle causes the accident by violating the motorcyclist’s right of way. Most frequently, the driver makes a left turn while the motorcyclist is heading straight.
3.    Most multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes occur because the driver of the passenger vehicle does not see the motorcyclist before the collision or until it is too late to avoid the collision.
4.    About 25% of accidents were single vehicle accidents involving only the motorcycle.
5.    Two-thirds of single vehicle motorcycle accidents are caused by driver error, most of these errors occur when the motorcyclist over-brakes or runs wide on a curve because of excess speed or under-cornering.
6.    Vehicle failure is rarely a factor.  The 3% of motorcycle accidents caused by vehicle failure almost always  involve the motorcyclist losing control of the bike due to a punctured tire.
7.    On the rare occasions when vehicle defects contribute to an accident, the defects are usually due to improper, deficient or defective maintenance.
8.    Roadway defects cause 2% of motorcycle accidents.
9.    Animals cause 1% of motorcycle accidents.
10.    Weather is only a factor in 2% of car accidents.
11.    Most motorcycle accidents occur when the driver is making a short trip.
12.    Motorcycle accidents do not usually involve speeding by the motorcyclist. The average pre-crash speed for a motorcycle accident is 29.8 miles per hour; the average crash speed is 21.5 miles per hour. 
13.    Lack of attention to driving (driver distraction) is a common factor for motorcyclists in accidents.
14.    Alcohol is a factor in almost half of fatal motorcycle accidents.
15.    Motorcycle riders involved in alcohol-related accidents have difficulty avoiding collisions. Many riders over-brake and skid the rear wheel, and under-brake the front wheel. This prevents them from decelerating. They are not able to counter-steer and swerve to avoid a collision.
16.     In a typical accident, a motorcyclist has only 2 seconds to complete collision avoidance maneuvers.
17.    Having a passenger does not contribute to the risk of an accident.
18.    Most motor vehicle drivers who are involved in car-motorcycle crashes are not motorcyclists nor are they familiar with motorcycling.
19.    Large displacement motorcycles are underrepresented in motorcycle accidents; however, when a large displacement motorcycle is involved in a motorcycle crash, the injuries are more serious.
20.    Modified motorcycles (such as semi-choppers) were overrepresented in accidents.
While there are many factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents, most accidents are not caused by the motorcyclist.  If you have been injured in a Kansas City motorcycle crash caused by a reckless or negligent driver, you are entitled to compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering and other losses.
To read more about the Hurt Report, click here.

Have You Been Injured In A Motorcycle Accident?

If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.

You can also order your FREE copy of our book, "KC Biker Bible."

James Roswold
Connect with me
James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.