MSF not sold on motorcycle crash study

Motorcycle industry withholds funding

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Oct. 16, 2009
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation refuses to provide funding for a new federal crash study because it is unlikely to be of much use in its current set up.

The study, commissioned by the Federal Highway Administration to be conducted by the Oklahoma State University’s Transportation Center, will collect data from hundreds of crashes and examine common factors such as road configurations, environmental conditions and rider experience.

The MSF says in a press release the study, which the organization repeatedly describes as “abbreviated”, is unlikely to “validate the findings of prior studies or establish, to any statistical significant level, any new causation factors.” According to the MSF, the OSU study is expected to have a sample size of 300 crashes. By comparison, the previous federal crash study, the Hurt Report, examined 900 crashes. A similar study in Europe conducted in 2000 examined 921 crashes while the National Transportation Safety Board recommended 1,200 cases.

The study was mandated by the “Safety, Accountability, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users” (SAFETEA-LU) of 2005 which tabled $2.8 million for the study with the motorcycle industry asked to match that amount.

The motorcycle industry, through the MSF, has set aside $3 million for the study but will not provide any funding until some changes are made.

The MSF’s primary condition is to increase the number of case to at least 900.

Even if the MSF agrees to provide the $3 million in funding, the study may still be underfunded. The amount promised by the MSF is more than what the SAFETEA-LU calls for but the MSF estimates the total cost to be near $8-9 million.

“We are confident that OSU will do its best in working with the U.S. Department of Transportation and various contractors to achieve what can only reasonably be expected,” the MSF statement reads.

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