|Motorcyclists represent an increasing proportion of road crash casualties in NSW and Australia. This study aimed to examine the:
• causal relationships between human, vehicle, road and other environmental factors and motorcyclist involvement in serious injury crashes; and
• influence of the total system (i.e. the rider, the vehicles and the crash site) on the nature and pattern of injuries sustained by seriously injured motorcyclists.
A case-control in-depth crash investigation approach coupled with expert multidisciplinary panel review of cases was used. Cases were motorcyclists who had been seriously or fatally injured in a crash on NSW roads. Controls were riders who had ridden, but not crashed on the same section of road where the case crash occurred.
The results indicate that riders using sports motorcycles and who are unfamiliar with their motorcycle, have a greater likelihood of being involved in serious injury crashes than riders using other motorcycle types and those very familiar with their vehicles. Protective factors identified in the case-control analysis included increasing age of the rider, and increased coverage by protective clothing. An additional protective effect was observed when the trip purpose was reported as commuting or general transport rather than for recreational purposes.
Four major themes arose in relation to crash causation and countermeasures: motorcyclists need to be seen; braking ability needs to be optimised; rider control needs to be maintained; and riders need appropriate experience.