Non-fatal motorcycle crashes on public roads in North Queensland
Between March 2004 and June 2007 The Rural and Remote Road Safety Study recorded 164 non-fatal motorcycle crashes in which a rider was seriously injured (hospitalised for 24 hours or more) on North Queensland public roads or lands. 88 of these riders consented to an interview with research staff during which a questionnaire was administered to gather information on crash experience, demographics, behaviour, vehicle types, experience, and lifestyle factors. Queensland Transport?s crash database provides information on those crashes which were officially reported on by police, and allows an analysis of consistency between police and patients? assessment of events surrounding crashes. Attributions of contributing circumstances by police are generally concordant with the versions of events provided by interviewed casualties, with some exceptions.
This paper describes motorcycle crashes on North Queensland public roads and lands, the vehicle types and riders involved, and explores the main factors contributing to crash and injury. While a large majority of crashes occurred on highways, secondary or sealed local roads, over 50% of vehicles were dedicated off-road (enduro) or dual purpose (road/trail) motorcycle types. Cruisers were the highest represented road motorcycle, comprising 17% of all motorcycle types. 12% of riders were unlicensed or inappropriately licensed for the vehicle type and approximately 15% of vehicles were unregistered. Most crashes occurred during late morning or early afternoon and the vast majority of riders were male (94%). The mean age of riders was 35 years, while 28% were aged between 16 and 24. The majority of riders interviewed (59%) indicated recreation (leisure or holiday) as their reason for travel, which together with the data on vehicle types raises interesting questions regarding the overall safety of recreational off-road motorcycling. The data and discussion raise several possibilities for developing tailored interventions targeting this vulnerable group of road users.