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Maybe cruisers are getting a bad rap


tallman

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Although the riders on cruisers seem to imbibe more as do too many sport tourers.

 

Food for thought.

Breakdown of stats by type of motorcycle and related factors such as; speeding, alcohol, helmet use.

 

http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr091107.html

 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), just released a study of insurance losses among the various classes of motorcycles and it’s not good. Of special note is the death rate among what the IIHS calls “supersport motorcycles” or what we might term racer replicas, which was pegged at 22.5 deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles. The next nearest rate was 10.7 among “Sport/unclad sport” all the way down to 5.7 for cruisers and 6.5 for touring motorcycles.

 

Crash characteristics: Speeding and driver error were bigger factors in fatal crashes of supersport and sport and unclad sport bikes compared with other classes of motorcycles. Speed was cited in 57 percent of supersport riders’ fatal crashes in 2005 and 46 percent of the fatal crashes of sport and unclad sport riders. Speed was a factor in 27 percent of fatal crashes among riders on cruisers and standards and 22 percent on touring motorcycles

 

Alcohol also is a problem in fatal crashes of motorcyclists, although less so than among passenger vehicle drivers. In 2005 it was a factor in the fatal crashes of 19 percent of supersport riders and 23 percent of sport and unclad sport riders. Alcohol impairment was an even bigger factor in the fatal crashes of cruisers and standard bikes and touring motorcycles, particularly among riders 30-49 years old. Thirty-three percent of cruiser and standard riders and 26 percent of touring motorcycle riders had blood alcohol concentrations above the legal threshold for impairment. By comparison, 33 percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers had blood alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent in 2005.

 

 

Meanwhile, helmet use fell. Only 51 percent of riders wear helmets certified by the US Department of Transportation. This compares with 71 percent in 2000, according to the federal government’s National Occupant Protection Use Survey

 

Motorcycle driver deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles, 2000 vs. 2005

2000 2005

Deaths Registered

motorcycles Deaths per

10,000 registered

motorcycles Deaths Registered

motorcycles Deaths per

10,000 registered

motorcycles

Cruiser/standard 976 1,752,377 5.6 1,583 2,778,348 5.7

Sport/unclad sport 248 229,020 10.8 430 401,130 10.7

Supersport 619 273,733 22.6 1,128 501,002 22.5

Touring 256 480,314 5.3 521 807,291 6.5

Other/unknown 442 829,944 5.3 388 893,567 4.3

Total 2,541 3,565,388 7.1 4,050 5,381,338 7.5

 

 

 

Time to trot out the old clichés about statistics if you want to, but these numbers are broken down fairly well IMO..

 

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It's nice to see someone has broken the death rate down to the category of motorcycle. It's no surprise the death rate on the sport bikes is the highest. We sport tourers should benefit with lower insurance rates. Missing is a comparison of deaths per 100,000 miles. Sport bikes often have less than a 1000 mi on them when they are totaled whereas sport tourers ride a ton of miles without mishap.

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Nice to see things broken into different segments. Also, nice to see some of my prejudices confirmed. Biggest surprise was how big a factor alcohol was across the board. Especially surprised about the tourers and alchol; "Let's drink us some beers and go see America."

 

Also, remember that you are dealing with fatal accidents, not just accidents. I wonder if the rates would be worse for cruisers if "fender-benders" were included. Hard to do a report on unreported accidents. I'm thinking that they don't go fast enough after drinking to be lethal in a crash.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for posting that, Tim. Very interesting stats. I'm acutally surprised that alcohol is a factor in only about a quarter of fatalities.

 

As mentioned, it would be interesting to have another set of data that considered annual miles ridden.

 

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Stats are funny though. With around 25 % of fatalities being alcohol related - you could twist the logic into ....Well , you've got a better chance of being killed sober (75%)...

 

just sayin

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that is interesting. during bike week it seems that it's not just cruisers in accidents. always an abundance of sport bikes involved, but the perception is cruisers.

 

tim, thanks for taking the time to put that together.

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Alcohol also is a problem in fatal crashes of motorcyclists, although less so than among passenger vehicle drivers.

 

This is the biggest surprise, I think.

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), just released a study of insurance losses among the various classes of motorcycles and it’s not good. Of special note is the death rate among what the IIHS calls “supersport motorcycles” or what we might term racer replicas, which was pegged at 22.5 deaths per 10,000 registered motorcycles.

 

This actually appears to be a study that was released over a year ago (September 2007). Nonetheless, it's worthy of discussion.

 

My gut feeling is that this study is probably generally correct, but I'm always very suspect of anything coming out of the IIHS, which, as we all know, is an insurance industry advocacy organization. One thing that would be interesting to know--and it does not appear that the study addresses this--is whether the accident rate is more correlated to the type of of motorcycle, the level of intoxication, the experience, of the rider or the rider's level of training. In other words, is it the inherent evilness of higher performance "sport bikes" that causes the higher incidence of crashes, or is a function of the population that tends to favor those bikes?

 

Further, how do they define "sport bikes?" Anything over 100 h.p.? Bikes that look zoomy? Is the K1300GT a sport bike? How about my lighter and smaller R1200ST?

 

In truth I've long felt that motorcycle dealers who sell CBRs and Hayabusas to 16-year-olds without a motorcycle endorsement or training are pretty scummy, but I view anything coming out the IIHS with suspicion.

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It's nice to see someone has broken the death rate down to the category of motorcycle. It's no surprise the death rate on the sport bikes is the highest. We sport tourers should benefit with lower insurance rates. Missing is a comparison of deaths per 100,000 miles. Sport bikes often have less than a 1000 mi on them when they are totaled whereas sport tourers ride a ton of miles without mishap.

 

I agree. Without factoring in miles which statistically would represent an increase in opportunity for accidents. However, from an insurance perspective, they only care about the frequency over a given period of time, since you don't pay insurace based on miles ridden. I must admit, my insurance is relatively cheap on my RT considering it's worth 3 times what my ZX9R was and I put almsot twice the number of miles on it. Don't tell my insurance provider... but I don't ride it all that much slower.

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Does anyone have a list of motorcycle modesl included in each category. For example, if a HD Electraglide a cruiser or a touring bike? Is a ST1300 a touring or a supersport.

 

I remember some discussion before how certain models were incorrectly categorized.

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It's nice to see someone has broken the death rate down to the category of motorcycle. It's no surprise the death rate on the sport bikes is the highest. We sport tourers should benefit with lower insurance rates. Missing is a comparison of deaths per 100,000 miles. Sport bikes often have less than a 1000 mi on them when they are totaled whereas sport tourers ride a ton of miles without mishap.

 

I think the low mileage per motorcycle would apply to cruisers as well. There are many more sitting in garages instead of being on the road.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Stats are funny though. With around 25 % of fatalities being alcohol related - you could twist the logic into ....Well , you've got a better chance of being killed sober (75%)...

 

It'll depend on the fraction of riders who are riding intoxicated vs. sober. If 25% of riders are drunk at any given time, and 25% of fatalities involve alcohol, you could conclude that alcohol really doesn't increase or decrease your risk of fatal accident.

 

I suspect it's a pretty small percent of total miles that gets ridden drunk - which would mean that alcohol seriously increases your risks.

 

The stats try to lay things out pretty clearly, but it can be very hard to separate out the various factors. Take the drunk-riding deaths, for example. I'll bet the majority of them happened after dark, and after bedtime. How much did those factors contribute to the accident? Moreover, if a guy is willing to ride drunk, it's a fair bet he's not terribly safety conscious: he's probably a crappy rider with no training who doesn't give a rip about safety gear, all of which makes him more likely to get into an accident, and to suffer death when he finally does. When all of these factors converge at once, it's mighty difficult to quantify their individual effects.

 

OTOH, if you've got all of these factors pointing in the other direction, i.e. you're trained, armored, experienced, never ride drunk, and very rarely ride after dark/bedtime, the odds are in your favor - not just because of those factors, but because of the safety-conscious mindset from which they arose.

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Dave in Doodah

64 percent of all the world's statistics are made up right there on the spot

 

82.4 percent of people believe 'em whether they're accurate statistics or not

 

I don't know what you believe but I do know there's no doubt

I need another double shot of something 90 proof -

I got too much to think about...

 

from "Statistician Blues" - by Todd Snider

 

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Dave in Doodah

An interesting article and topic, tallman. Thanks.

 

And we can delve into the minutia all we like, but the important(and fairly obvious) trends to note, as riders, are the usual:

 

more drinking increases risk

more miles increases risk

more speed increases risk

less protection increases risk

etc.

 

We all constantly make our determinations when balancing risk-to-reward, whether we know the latest set of data or not. Discussions like this can only be helpful in fine-tuning the balancing act and re-sensitizing us to the factors.

 

As a side note, I humbly disagree with swfraley... I still believe that folks who climb onto a two-wheeler are inherently more concerned about safety and are more apt to watch their alcohol consumption when it pertains to riding. So I am not aurprised that riders have lower alcohol related deaths than drivers. Even if only having two beers with dinner, I will tend to ride the bike home and get the car before heading to the restaurant.

 

Of course, I am also a confessed hypocrite - and no questions on what's in that travel mug I am swilling from in the avatar... :/

 

edit: It's Peet's Ethiopian coffee... black.

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64 percent of all the world's statistics are made up right there on the spot

 

82.4 percent of people believe 'em whether they're accurate statistics or not

 

I don't know what you believe but I do know there's no doubt

I need another double shot of something 90 proof -

I got too much to think about...

 

from "Statistician Blues" - by Todd Snider

 

"They say 74% of statisticians truly hate their @$%@$%@ jobs...

The average bank robber lives within 20 miles of the bank that he robs....

 

there's this little bank not so far from here and I've been watchin it for a while, it seems like lately all I can think about is how bad I want to go out in style...."

 

From the same song

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Speed always seems to be 'a factor', but this never seems to precisely defined. When speed is 'a factor', is it a primary or peripheral factor? Would the accident definitely not have occurred if 'speed' were not involved? That detail needs to be in there if the statement is to have much meaning.

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Nice n Easy Rider
Does anyone have a list of motorcycle modesl included in each category. For example, if a HD Electraglide a cruiser or a touring bike? Is a ST1300 a touring or a supersport.

 

I remember some discussion before how certain models were incorrectly categorized.

 

They classify the ElectraGlide as a Tourer. They give a few other examples of classifications in the full report (http://www.iihs.org/sr/pdfs/sr4209.pdf). But there are not very many examples.

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Unhofliche_Gesundheit

i think it is very important to closely examine the stats. :thumbsup:

 

deaths per 10k:

Cruiser/standard 5.7

Sport/unclad sport 10.7

Supersport 22.5

Touring 6.5

Other/unknown 4.3

Total 7.5

 

looking closely at all the categories, supersport, cruiser, touring, etc, the obvious lesson from the statistics, for all of us to heed is that it is much safer to ride a bike which falls in the 'unknown' category!

 

;)

 

 

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i think it is very important to closely examine the stats. :thumbsup:

 

deaths per 10k:

Cruiser/standard 5.7

Sport/unclad sport 10.7

Supersport 22.5

Touring 6.5

Other/unknown 4.3

Total 7.5

 

looking closely at all the categories, supersport, cruiser, touring, etc, the obvious lesson from the statistics, for all of us to heed is that it is much safer to ride a bike which falls in the 'unknown' category!

 

;)

 

 

They are obviously Dual Sports. No one knows what they are.

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The sports bikes have arguably the best brake/suspension/handling characteristics of the bunch and are probably inherently the safest bikes.

 

I bet if you swapped riders, (i.e all touring riders had to ride sports bikes, and visa versa) the stats would mirror the riders almost exactly and have little to do with the bike itslef.

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The sports bikes have arguably the best brake/suspension/handling characteristics of the bunch and are probably inherently the safest bikes.

 

I bet if you swapped riders, (i.e all touring riders had to ride sports bikes, and visa versa) the stats would mirror the riders almost exactly and have little to do with the bike itslef.

 

Absolutley, but certain types of people gravitate to certain kinds of bikes. An 18 year old hothead who just got his license, does not see much difference in "traveling" at 65 -vs- 165 and believes he will never be harmed on a motorcycle does not run into the local honda dealer and buy a Goldwing.

 

It would be interesting to see this in the context of years/miles ridden. My suspicion is that once you are above 5 years experience with at least 5000 miles a year your chances greatly increase of not getting yourself into a situation you cannot handle simply becuase you have formed your reflexes to do what you should do, not what is instinctive (like putting your foot down) and because you have a better iddea of your limits. When you are first starting out you do not know your limits and quickly get in over your head, especially on a bullet bike. Then as age increases and strength/reflex/attention spans drop you could find yourself above your skill level again simply because you are not capable of doing the same thing you did 20 years ago.

 

I would also hope that the alcohol/speed factor numbers are much lessened the older (wiser) you get too.

 

 

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Here is some interesting info extrapolated from the survey. I think I have it correct - so here goes...

 

.................Avg Age.......Avg Age.......Percent chance you

................Of Owner....of Fatality... will be a statistic

 

Super Sport-----33------------27--------------.225%

Unclad------------38------------34--------------.107%

Sport--------------39------------34--------------.107%

Cruisers/Std----45------------44--------------.057%

Touring-----------45------------51--------------.065%

Other--------------48------------41--------------.043%

(includes Scooters)

 

Notice, the statistics show the fatalities to be substantially younger then the average owner in each class... that is until you reach cruisers. Then the trend starts to reverse. Hummm... How do you explain that? Too old to hold them up? Too confident? :lurk:

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While I am playing golf, my chances are really good that I will not wreck a motorcycle. But then most days I ride the a motorcycle to and from the golf course.

 

Bottom line, I enjoy golf, love family so I have a really big incentive to return home safely everyday so I may repeat the process.

 

I believe that is where the tourer has an advantage also, they tend to ride for the long ride, not just a fun run through the nearest twisties.

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the obvious lesson from the statistics, for all of us to heed is that it is much safer to ride a bike which falls in the 'unknown' category!

 

The other/unknown category includes scooters. Scooters have a much lower fatality rate than motorcycles, so including them must have a big effect on statistics for that category.

 

So yes, you could ride a scooter.

 

Although I'd guess if you rode a motorcycle the same way people ride scooters (slowly, on short trips, without alcohol) you'd probably have the same success in reducing your risk.

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Dave in Doodah

Bingo - find me one scooter rider who got ticketed for excessive speed... plus, I assume most scooter riders are DUI convicts who lost their licenses, have learned their lesson, and ride/drive sober. As far as the short trip part - duh - they are on a scooter....

 

But - interesting point that scooter riders have low fatality rates - they just seem like sitting ducks out there.

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the obvious lesson from the statistics, for all of us to heed is that it is much safer to ride a bike which falls in the 'unknown' category!

 

The other/unknown category includes scooters. Scooters have a much lower fatality rate than motorcycles, so including them must have a big effect on statistics for that category.

 

So yes, you could ride a scooter.

 

Although I'd guess if you rode a motorcycle the same way people ride scooters (slowly, on short trips, without alcohol) you'd probably have the same success in reducing your risk.

 

Bingo - find me one scooter rider who got ticketed for excessive speed... plus, I assume most scooter riders are DUI convicts who lost their licenses, have learned their lesson, and ride/drive sober. As far as the short trip part - duh - they are on a scooter....

 

But - interesting point that scooter riders have low fatality rates - they just seem like sitting ducks out there.

 

Okay, as the owner of a scooter I've now gotta step up to the plate and defend them. Yes there are many 50 and 150cc scooters running around the cities but let's not forget about what is now referred to as the Maxi Scooter, those that are powered by 400, 500 and 650cc engines, those little babies will "scoot". Mine happens to be a Suzuki Burgman AN650 and that hummer, which weighs in at about 590 pounds, will cruise the highways all day at 70, 80, 90 mph without giving it a second thought. I feel no more like a sitting duck on the Burgman than I do on my RT.

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Dave in Doodah

Point taken, PBee. No need to defend scooters to me - no offense was meant. I do wonder what the draw is to ride one of those things, though. Since I have never ridden anything like that, except for a few mopeds as a kid, I have no room to legitimately rag on them. I have only known people with no m/c endorsement (or no dl at all) to ever climb on one.

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"...But - interesting point that scooter riders have low fatality rates - they just seem like sitting ducks out there...."

 

Remember when Volvo advertised their cars were so safe based on accident statistics? The cars were not safer than many available, but it was the DRIVERS who were totally different from the average driver. Most Volvo drivers had the rep of being more educated, slower driving, less risk taking, etc, etc. Much of that was probably untrue, but it was true enough to keep the accident stats for Volvos low. Well.....once the Volvo was seen less as an "old person's car" the company no longer advertises it as such a safe car.

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