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 describe the findings that can help to prevent motorcycle accidents and serious injury.
  Findings from the Hurt Report:
1.    The chance of an accident is greatly reduced when the motorcycle is easily visible. Use of headlights and wearing of bright red, yellow or orange jackets increases visibility and reduces accidents.
2.    Making the rider and front of the motorcycle are visible is the most important factor for preventing motorcycle crashes.
3.    Vehicle defects rarely cause motorcycle crashes. When vehicle defects contribute to an accident, they are most often due to improper, deficient or defective maintenance. Keeping the motorcycle well-maintained can protect the safety of the rider.
4.    Training prevents motorcycle accidents.  Ninety two percent of riders involved in accidents were self-taught motorcyclists or learned from family/friends.
5.    Protective clothing such as heavy boots, jackets and gloves are effective for preventing and reducing abrasion
and laceration.  Abrasion and laceration are often minor, but can be serious.
6.    The most deadly injuries to accident victims were those that occurred to the chest and head; use of a safety helmet is the biggest factor in preventing head injuries which can cause lifelong serious disability.
7.    There is no correlation between helmet use and being in an accident.  Helmets do not cause accidents or decrease a rider’s ability to safely operate a motorcycle.
8.    Helmeted riders and passengers showed significantly lower rates of head injury, brain injury and neck injury for all types of injury, at all levels of injury severity.
9.    Full facial helmets greatly reduce the incidence of facial injuries.
10.    There is no increased risk of neck injury or other injury from wearing a helmet.
In other words, motorcyclists can prevent accident and avoid serious injury by:
1.    Taking a motorcycle training course.
2.    Being visible.
3.    Wearing a helmet and appropriate safety gear.
To read more about the Hurt Report, click here.
Not all accidents are preventable. Sometimes, even the best trained drivers become victims of motorcycle crashes. 

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