The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and its members are partnering with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) on what is likely the world's first large-scale, naturalistic motorcycle riding study: The MSF Naturalistic Study of Motorcyclists.
Using small video recorders and instrumentation mounted on numerous bikes for 6-18 months, the study will combine unobtrusive, continuous data collection with post-incident interviews to create a comprehensive picture of many factors contributing to both crashes and near-crashes.
A departure from traditional crash-causation research, the naturalistic method and technology developed by VTTI was successfully used in a 100-car study in 2005 that included 69 crashes and more than 750 near-crashes. The method is presently in use by researchers across the globe to target nearly every type of roadway user, with the exception of two-wheeled vehicles. The study is expected to be on the road by early 2011.
“We know of no other naturalistic study for motorcycles,” VTTI Director Tom Dingus said in the MSF press release. “We expect the study to be very valuable to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's work, since we also will examine where and how crash avoidance is successful. With so much information bandwidth coming from the cameras and instrumentation on each bike, we'll be able to examine details for years, and the findings will be relevant for decades.”