ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Hazard perception and responding in car drivers and motorcyclists

Haworth, Narelle, Mulvihill, Christine (Peer reviewed)

Motorcycles and Scooters

2004

Poor hazard perception skills have been shown to contribute to novice driver crash involvement. Comparatively little research has examined the relevance of hazard perception and responding in the crashes of novice motorcyclists. Motorcyclists are subject to the same hazards faced by car drivers but are also at risk from situations not hazardous for car drivers, such as gaps in bridge decking wide enough to catch a motorcycle wheel but too narrow to affect a car tyre. The reactions required from riders also need to be different, as motorcycles handle differently to cars. The extent of potential harm associated with any given hazard is commonly greater for motorcyclists, given their comparative lack of protection. Most novice riders are experienced drivers. Also, many riders who have held a licence for some time have limited riding experience. These issues question the relevance of the results of car driver hazard perception research for novice motorcyclists. This paper describes these issues using the findings of the first stage of a program of research into hazard perception training for motorcyclists. Based on a literature review and the results of an analysis of Victorian motorcycle crash data, the paper examines differences in the hazard perception and responding skills and requirements of novice riders and drivers. The implications of these findings for riders training needs and the role and potential utility of a hazard perception test for motorcyclists are then discussed in brief. The two general approaches to improving the safety of road users are to prevent crashes and to reduce the severity of injury in the event of a crash. Crash prevention is relatively more important for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists who are not encased in metal structures. For bicyclists and motorcyclists, the ability to perceive and respond to hazards posed by other vehicles and by the road surface is crucially important. Motorcycle riders are subject to specific hazards in addition to those that they have in common with car drivers. The rider s evaluation of level of risk also needs to take account of the different performance characteristics of a motorcycle compared with a car and the lower levels of injury protection afforded by the motorcycle. Thus, the findings regarding hazard perception in car drivers and the content and delivery of training that has been developed for car drivers may not necessarily be appropriate for motorcycle riders. This paper is based on the findings of the first stage of a project to investigate hazard perception training for motorcyclists. Based on a literature review and an analysis of Victorian motorcycle crash data, the paper examines differences in the hazard perception and responding skills and requirements of novice riders and drivers. The implications of these findings for riders training needs and the role and potential utility of a hazard perception test for motorcyclists are then discussed in brief.