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book  The 1981 Hurt Report on Motorcycle Crashes

Hurt in Wikipedia
Hurt Summary
Full HURT report, PDF

We applaud the pioneering Hurt report published by the late Dr. Hugh H. Hurt, Jr. in 1981 using data from the 1970s. It is the best motorcycle crash study done in the US. It's only problem is that it is very old, and things have changed a lot since the 1970s, partly due to Hurt's own success. We want a new study.

Hurt's ConclusionsCyclone bike

Our Take on Hurt

Since Hurt, motorcycle frontal conspicuity has been improved by always-on headlights, but still we have crashes with cages turning across bikes. This is still a major problem. There is also evidence (from Maids) that if cage drivers have learned to perceive motorcycles better, that they are less likely to be the cause of an accident. We think that cage right of way infractions now cause less than half the crashes in the US, probably more like a third.

Hurt found that speed was not a factor - the median speed of the motorcycle at impact was around 21 MPH. But we note that many bikes are much faster now than they were in 1981, and we think that speed is now a greater factor in bike crashes, especially with younger bikers under 30.

We're going to talk some more about these factors, but please check out the Hurt Summary . The DOT also has interesting comments on Hurt.

Some say that if Hurt was repeated we'd maybe get similar results, but we disagree. The rest of this section has information on other studies, mainly from abroad, and other information, which suggest that crash causation has changed dramatically since Hurt's day.