How are we Riding

By Diane Ortiz – President and founder of the Big Apple Motorcycle School.

How Are We Riding?

The world’s first large-scale naturalistic motorcycle riding study is now complete! One hundred riders on their specially equipped motorcycles have completed the data acquisition phase and the analysis phase is now yielding preliminary results.  

Motorcycle riderThis study came about when the Motorcycle Safety Foundation partnered with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute on a 3.5-year study and began by collecting data from instruments installed on motorcycles owned by study participants as the bikes were ridden in normal day-to-day use. Sensors and video cameras recorded all motorcycle operator inputs such as steering, acceleration, braking and lean, as well as recording all motions of the motorcycle, current riding conditions and the actions of surrounding traffic. The motorcycle instrumentation was designed to be as inconspicuous as possible, so that participant-riders would forget their rides were being monitored.

“The MSF 100 study is being conducted to support motorcycle safety research, with particular emphasis on results that offer ongoing guidance in rider training,” said MSF’s Director of Quality Assurance and Research, Dr. Sherry Williams. “The study utilizes a naturalistic methodology that provided researchers with information captured by instruments installed on one-hundred motorcycles ridden for a combined nine-thousand-plus hours by real riders in real riding conditions.”

The MSF 100 study utilized seven motorcycle models that encompassed touring, cruiser and sport-type motorcycles. These motorcycle types make up 85 percent of on-road motorcycles in use today. The motorcycles were instrumented for the study in Virginia, California, Florida and Arizona. The study’s use of four different geographic areas resulted in data collection from a variety of riding and weather conditions and roadway environments. Depending on when participants entered the study, some motorcycles were tracked for as long as 2 years. Approximately 38,581 trips were recorded. A “trip” begins when the motorcycle engine is started and ends when it is turned off. Combined, these trips totaled approximately 9,478 hours of riding, with a total of 363,000 miles.

Participants in this study were recorded in over 42 states in the U.S. Riding was recorded day and night, in clear weather, rain, and snow. Temperatures ranged from 16 degrees F to 109 degrees F!

The study included frequent and infrequent riders. Frequent riders rode 145 days per year on average, while infrequent riders rode on average approximately 30 days per year. Participant ages ranged from 21 to 80. 78% of the participant riders were male and 22% were female.

The MSF 100 Study, which tracked participants in Virginia, California, Florida and Arizona, is expected to be a rich source of insight for years to come on a wide range of questions and points of interest for an international array of safety professionals generally, but riders and rider safety professionals specifically.

We’ll all be interested to see the results of this study to help everyone make riding safer and even more enjoyable! Stay tuned for more info in upcoming articles.

Ride Safe!