Crashes of older Australian riders

Haworth, Narelle L. & Mulvihill, Christine (2006) Crashes of older Australian riders. In 2006 International Motorcycle Safety Conference The Human Element, 28-30 March 2006, Long Beach, California.


Motorcyclist fatalities and injuries are increasing in many developed countries, particularly among older riders. Older riders are often grouped into continuing, returned and new riders. There is widespread concern about the safety of returned riders, but little objective data available. While Australian data show higher crash rates for young than for older riders and for newly licensed older riders than full licence holders (continuing and returned riders), the crash involvement of returned and continuing riders is difficult to compare because these groups cannot be separated in the official crash or licensing databases.

An Internet survey of motorcycle riders was undertaken in 2005 to compare the crash involvement of the three groups of older riders and identify implications for rider training and other rider safety measures. Paper questionnaires were provided to riders without Internet access. Respondents had ridden in Australia in the last five years and were aged 25 and over.

Of the 1,500 completed questionnaires, 930 were from continuing riders, 281 were from new riders, and 262 were from returned riders. The largest proportion of riders was aged 45-54. New riders were generally younger than returned riders. Most respondents rode in both rural and urban areas but about three-quarters rode less than 100 km in an average week. Continuing riders rode further in an average week than new and returned riders.

Riders were asked how many motorcycle accidents they had been involved in on Australian roads in the last five years in which someone was hurt, the Police were called, or a vehicle was damaged and had to be taken away. About 30% of riders had been involved in at least one crash.

Returned riders had a lower crash risk than continuing riders even after adjusting for the lower distance ridden in an average week by returned riders. While the crash risk of new and continuing riders did not differ significantly in this study, this may have reflected less riding during the previous five years by new riders.

Most crashes resulted in slight injuries (cuts and bruises). Injuries to new riders were less severe on average and there was a tendency for continuing riders to be less severely injured than returned riders. Riders aged 55-64 were over-represented in serious injury (admitted to hospital) crashes, possibly because they are more susceptible to injury than younger riders.

New riders had relatively more single vehicle (motorcycle only) crashes than continuing or returned riders. They were more likely to report that they were to blame for their crash, nominating not being able to handle the motorcycle well enough, not knowing what to do in the situation, being unfamiliar with the location, going too fast and not braking quickly enough as contributing factors on their part.

New riders were more likely to have completed a training course (93%) than continuing (67%) and returned riders (57%). Less than 10% of returned riders had completed a refresher course but almost 30% had completed an advanced course. Riders who had completed a training course were more likely to have been involved in a crash than those who had not. Riders who had completed a training course were more likely to have been involved in a crash. This counter-intuitive finding remained after adjusting for distance ridden.

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ID Code: 6292
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: motorcycle safety, rider training, older riders, motorcyclists
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > TRANSPORTATION AND FREIGHT SERVICES (150700) > Road Transportation and Freight Services (150703)
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
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 26 Jul 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 16:23

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