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Hazard perception and responding by motorcyclists

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– Summary of background, literature review and training methods
Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #234 [2005] Full report in .pdf format [85KB]
Authors: Narelle Haworth, Christine Mulvihill, Phil Wallace, Mark Symmons and Michael Regan

– Background and literature review
Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #235 [2005] Full report in .pdf format [520KB]
Authors: Narelle Haworth, Christine Mulvihill and Mark Symmons

Best training methods for teaching hazard perception and responding by motorcyclists
Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #236 [2005] Full report in .pdf format [240KB]
Authors: Phil Wallace, Narelle Haworth and Michael Regan

Executive Summary

This project is the first stage of a larger program of research into hazard perception training for motorcyclists. Future stages of the project will investigate what type of environment can be used to teach hazard perception and responding, for example a simulator environment or combination of off-road and simulator training.

This document summarises two reports that were prepared as part of this project. The first report (Haworth, Mulvihill & Symmons, 2005) reviews the research that has been conducted into hazard perception and responding, assesses what can be learnt from motorcycle crash data and describes current motorcycle simulators. The second report (Wallace, Haworth & Regan, 2005) examines the best methods for training riders in hazard perception and responding skills.

The first report identified that motorcycle riders must deal with the same hazards as car drivers, as well as the additional hazard of failure by car drivers to give way. The vehicle control skills involved in riding a motorcycle are more complex than driving a car and failure to correctly implement a response to a hazard may in itself be dangerous.

There has been a lot of research into hazard perception by car drivers but few studies have addressed hazard perception and responding by motorcycle riders. The research has shown that novice car drivers are slower or less likely to detect and respond to hazards and that car drivers who are slower at detecting hazards in a driving simulator report having more accidents.

No motorcyclist specific hazard perception test has been developed or introduced anywhere in the world. The tests developed for car drivers may not give sufficient emphasis to hazards specific to motorcyclists, particularly road surface hazards, and do not adequately measure responding. It is likely that these tests will underestimate any differences between novice and experienced riders.

Motorcycle simulators have been developed and are a mandatory part of training in Japan. Simulators are best used as part of a comprehensive rider education system that includes classroom training, skills practice using real vehicles, with simulation used to present situations that are too dangerous to practice using a real vehicle.

The second report examined training methods for teaching safe motorcycling hazard perception and responding and examined the potential usefulness of simulation in motorcycle rider training.

The model of incremental transfer learning was used as a framework for learning hazard perception and responding skills. This learning model has been successfully applied to many Australian Defence Force situations and, more recently, to novice car driver training through the TAC product DriveSmart.

While more research is needed regarding hazard perception and responding by motorcycle riders, specific deficiencies in current training methods were identified and potential remedies suggested.

The research suggests that simulators are best used as part of a comprehensive rider education system that includes classroom training and skills practice using real vehicles, with simulators being used to train riders in situations that are too dangerous to practice using a real vehicle.

The cost of sufficient access to simulators may prevent this approach from being applied to the general motorcycle rider LEARNER population. However, simulators may be cost-effective for training particular groups, such as individuals with high accident rates or professional riders. In the short-term, simulators may provide a useful tool for conducting research into hazard perception and responding by riders.

Sponsoring organisation [Report No. 235]- Baseline Research Program - Department of Justice, Transport Accident Commission, VicRoads. [Report No. 236] - Transport Accident Commission Motorcycle Safety Levy and managed by VicRoads.