Current Trends in Motorcycle Related Crash and Injury Risk in Australia by Motorcycle Type and Attributes

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report


The purpose of this study was to characterise current and future motorcycle related road trauma to guide effective safety interventions and future research. Police reported crash data for South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales and registration data for Victoria and New South Wales for the years 2005 to 2014 were matched with Redbook model types and Road Vehicle Certification Scheme (RVCS) motorcycle characteristic data after decoding models from vehicle identification numbers. These data sources were combined to analyse trends by attributes for injury crashes, registered vehicles and crash rates per registered vehicle. Analysis also considered the odds of a fatal or serious injury outcome given involvement in an injury crash. Average crash risks per registered motorcycle were 1% per year for injury crashes and 0.5% per year for a fatal or serious injury crashes with just under half of all reported motorcycle injury crashes resulting in fatal and serious injuries, around twice the rate for cars. Injury crashes in rural and remote regions occurred at higher proportions than expected. Thirty-five percent of injury crashes (and 40% of fatal and serious injury crashes) were in rural or remote regions and just under 30% (and just over 30% for fatal and serious injury crashes) occurred in speed zones of 80 km/hr or more. The odds of a more serious injury crash were 48% higher if the crash region was remote (relative to rural). Over 50% of motorcycle injury crashes were multi-vehicle and outcomes for this crash type were more likely to be fatal and serious than for single vehicle crashes. For the 20% of injury crashes which involved one vehicle turning in front of another, the odds of a more severe outcome were about twice that for a single vehicle injury crash. Single vehicle crashes had 30% lower odds of a more serious injury outcome if the vehicle remained on the carriageway. While the proportion injury crashes involving older riders (60+ years) was small, this proportion doubled over 10 years (to 7%) and their injury outcomes were poorer. A unique feature of the study was the ability to study factors affecting crash risk and injury outcomes for motorcyclists related to motorcycle type and other attributes including engine capacity and power to weight ratio. Crash rates and injury outcomes varied significantly by motorcycle type. Furthermore, those motorcycle types with the highest crash risk and highest risk of serious injury outcomes, namely sports motorcycles, are becoming more prevalent in the fleet, which is adversely affecting motorcycle safety. Further adverse effects on motorcycle safety are stemming from the trend to increasing power to weight ratio of newer motorcycles, which has shown a significant association with more severe injury outcomes in a crash. Analysis results also suggest that the effectiveness of the LAMS criteria could also be improved by considering motorcycle type in the restriction criteria. Suggested countermeasures include addressing motorcyclist conspicuity and vulnerability, reduced speed limits where appropriate in higher speed zones and remote areas, licensing and speed enforcement, vehicle safety technologies and motorcyclist focussed road infrastructure improvements.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne Vic Australia
PublisherMonash University
Number of pages92
ISBN (Print)9781925413069
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Motorcycle injury crash risk
  • Vehicle characteristics
  • LAMS
  • Motorcycle type
  • Countermeasures

Cite this