Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More on the MSF/Virginia Tech 'Naturalistic' Motorcycle Study

We followed up on the MSF announcement that it is sponsoring a study of motorcycle crash causations at Virginia Tech, using VTTI's novel naturalistic technique.  Our page offers links and information on what VTTI has been doing with the 'naturalistic' technique, which revolves around placing a battery of electronic sensors on a vehicle, then following a number of vehicles for a while, recording not only an crashes they become involved in, but also evasions, near crashes and minor crashes that the police are not called for. 

The technique, though rather new, is real and has a lot of work and development behind it.  Of course, there are obvious problems with reducing a 20 lb footlocker sized installation down to something that is small enough and tough enough to survive on a bike.   Although there are riders who ride the approximately 20K miles per year that the 100-car study participants drove, we think that most motorcyclists ride much fewer miles, and the 20K bikers are pretty much a breed apart. 

We are still digging around and looking for someone that knows about the new study to talk to us, but, for now, this looks like a real study, with real funds and researchers who could know a but more about bikes but who bring useful skills in this type of study to the table.  The VTTI guys have a rep in the academic and traffic safety worlds, and we don't think they would lend their names to provide a fig-leaf for the MSF.