What can we learn from the crashes of learner riders?

Haworth, Narelle, Rowden, Peter, Blackman, Ross, & Watson, Barry (2013) What can we learn from the crashes of learner riders? In 2013 International Motorcycle Safety Conference, 16-17 October 2013, Orlando, FL, U.S.A.

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In some parts of Australia, people wanting to learn to ride a motorcycle are required to complete an off-road training course before they are allowed to practice on the road. In the state of Queensland, they are only required to pass a short multiple-choice road rules knowledge test. This paper describes an analysis of police-reported crashes involving learner riders in Queensland that was undertaken as part of research investigating whether pre-learner training is needed and, if so, the issues that should be addressed in training..

The crashes of learner riders and other riders were compared to identify whether there are particular situations or locations in which learner motorcyclists are over-involved in crashes, which could then be targeted in the pre-learner package. The analyses were undertaken separately for riders aged under 25 (330 crashes) versus those aged 25 and over (237 crashes) to provide some insight into whether age or riding inexperience are the more important factors, and thus to indicate whether there are merits in having different licensing or training approaches for younger and older learner riders. Given that the average age of learner riders was 33 years, under 25 was chosen to provide a sufficiently large sample of younger riders.

Learner riders appeared to be involved in more severe crashes and to be more often at fault than fully-licensed riders but this may reflect problems in reporting, rather than real differences. Compared to open licence holders, both younger and older learner riders had relatively more crashes in low speed zones and relatively fewer in high speed zones. Riders aged under 25 had elevated percentages of night-time crashes and fewer single unit (potentially involving rider error only) crashes regardless of the type of licence held. The contributing factors that were more prevalent in crashes of learner riders than holders of open licences were: inexperience (37.2% versus 0.5%), inattention (21.5% versus 15.6%), alcohol or drugs (12.0% versus 5.1%) and drink riding (9.9% versus 3.1%). The pattern of contributing factors was generally similar for younger and older learner riders, although younger learners were (not surprisingly) more likely to have inexperience coded as a contributing factor (49.7% versus 19.8%).

Some of the differences in crashes between learner riders and fully-licensed riders appear to reflect relatively more riding in urban areas by learners, rather than increased risks relating to inexperience. The analysis of contributing factors in learner rider crashes suggests that hazard perception and risk management (in terms of speed and alcohol and drugs) should be included in a pre-learner program. Currently, most learner riders in Queensland complete pre-licence training and become licensed within one month of obtaining their learner permit. If the introduction of pre-learner training required that the learner permit was held for a minimum duration, then the immediate effect might be more learners riding (and crashing). Thus, it is important to consider how training and licensing initiatives work together in order to improve the safety of new riders (and how this can be evaluated).

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ID Code: 64947
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Keywords: crashes, motorcycle riders, rider education, learners
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychology not elsewhere classified (170199)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 04 Dec 2013 22:12
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2014 10:51

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