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For other types of motorized vehicles, see Motor vehicle. For the 2006 Pixar film, see Cars (film). For other uses, see Car (disambiguation) and Automobile (disambiguation).
Car insurance companies in singapore Modern cars and trucks driving on an expressway.
Classification Vehicle
Industry Various
Application Transportation
Fuel source Gasoline, Diesel, Natural gas, Electric, Hydrogen, Solar, Vegetable Oil
Powered Yes
Self-propelled Yes
Wheels 3–4
Axles 1–2
Inventor Ferdinand Verbiest (invented first toy-sized model); Karl Benz (generally acknowledged as the inventor of the modern car)[1]

A car is a wheeled, self-powered motor vehicle used for transportation and a product of the automotive industry. Most definitions of the term specify that cars are designed to run primarily on roads, to have seating for one to eight people, to typically have four wheels with tyres, and to be constructed principally for the transport of people rather than goods.[2][3] The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car. In that year, German inventor Karl Benz built the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Cars did not become widely available until the early 20th century. One of the first cars that was accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Cars were rapidly adopted in the United States of America, where they replaced animal-drawn carriages and carts, but took much longer to be accepted in Western Europe and other parts of the world.

Cars are equipped with controls used for driving, parking, passenger comfort and safety, and controlling a variety of lights. Over the decades, additional features and controls have been added to vehicles, making them progressively more complex. Examples include rear reversing cameras, air conditioning, navigation systems, and in car entertainment. Most cars in use in the 2010s are propelled by an internal combustion engine, fueled by deflagration of gasoline (also known as petrol) or diesel. Both fuels cause air pollution and are also blamed for contributing to climate change and global warming.[4] Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles are also gaining popularity in some countries. Electric cars, which were invented early in the history of the car, began to become commercially available in 2008.

There are costs and benefits to car use. The costs of car usage include the cost of: acquiring the vehicle, interest payments (if the car is financed), repairs and auto maintenance, fuel, depreciation, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance.[5] The costs to society of car use include: maintaining roads, land use, road congestion, air pollution, public health, health care, and disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life. Road traffic accidents are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.[6]

The benefits may include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence, and convenience.[7] The societal benefits may include: economic benefits, such as job and wealth creation from car production, sales and maintenance, transportation provision, society well-being derived from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the tax opportunities. The ability for humans to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies.[8] It was estimated in 2014 that the number of cars had risen to over 1.25 billion vehicles,[9] up from the 500 million of 1986.[10] The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in China, India and other newly industrialized countries.[11]


  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 History
  • 3 Mass production
  • 4 Fuel and propulsion technologies
  • 5 User interface
  • 6 Lighting
  • 7 Weight
  • 8 Seating and body style
  • 9 Safety
  • 10 Costs and benefits
  • 11 Environmental impact
  • 12 Emerging car technologies
    • 12.1 Autonomous car
    • 12.2 Open source development
  • 13 Industry
  • 14 Alternatives
  • 15 Other meanings
  • 16 See also
  • 17 References
  • 18 Further reading
  • 19 External links


The word "car" is believed to originate from the Latin word carrus or carrum ("wheeled vehicle"), or the Middle English word carre (meaning two-wheel cart, from Old North French). In turn, these originated from the Gaulish word karros (a Gallic chariot). The Gaulish language was a branch of the Brythoic language which also used the word Karr; the Brythonig language evolved into Welsh (and Gaelic) where 'Car llusg' (a drag cart or sledge) and 'car rhyfel' (war chariot) still survive.[12][13] It originally referred to any wheeled horse-drawn vehicle, such as a cart, carriage, or wagon.[14][15] "Motor car" is attested from 1895, and is the usual formal name for cars in British English.[3] "Autocar" is a variant that is also attested from 1895, but that is now considered archaic. It literally means "self-propelled car".[16] The term "horseless carriage" was used by some to refer to the first cars at the time that they were being built, and is attested from 1895.[17]

The word "automobile" is a classical compound derived from the Ancient Greek word autós (αὐτός), meaning "self", and the Latin word mobilis, meaning "movable". It entered the English language from French, and was first adopted by the Automobile Club of Great Britain in 1897.[18] Over time, the word "automobile" fell out of favour in Britain, and was replaced by "motor car". It remains a chiefly North American usage.[19] An abbreviated form, "auto", was formerly a common way to refer to cars in English, but is now considered old-fashioned. The word is still used in some compound formations in American English, like "auto industry" and "auto mechanic".[20][21] The abbreviated form is also used in Dutch and German.


Main article: History of the automobile

The first working steam-powered vehicle was designed—and most likely built—by Ferdinand Verbiest, a Flemish member of a Jesuit mission in China around 1672. It was a 65-cm-long scale-model toy for the Chinese Emperor that was unable to carry a driver or a passenger.[7][22][23] It is not known if Verbiest's model was ever built.[23]

Car insurance under 21 temporary tattoos Cugnot's 1771 fardier à vapeur, as preserved at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris

Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot is widely credited with building the first full-scale, self-propelled mechanical vehicle or car in about 1769; he created a steam-powered tricycle.[24] He also constructed two steam tractors for the French Army, one of which is preserved in the French National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts.[25] His inventions were, however, handicapped by problems with water supply and maintaining steam pressure.[25] In 1801, Richard Trevithick built and demonstrated his Puffing Devil road locomotive, believed by many to be the first demonstration of a steam-powered road vehicle. It was unable to maintain sufficient steam pressure for long periods, and was of little practical use.

The development of external combustion engines is detailed as part of the history of the car, but often treated separately from the development of true cars. A variety of steam-powered road vehicles were used during the first part of the 19th century, including steam cars, steam buses, phaetons, and steam rollers. Sentiment against them led to the Locomotive Acts of 1865.

In 1807, Nicéphore Niépce and his brother Claude created what was probably the world's first internal combustion engine (which they called a Pyréolophore), but they chose to install it in a boat on the river Saone in France.[26] Coincidentally, in 1807 the Swiss inventor François Isaac de Rivaz designed his own 'de Rivaz internal combustion engine' and used it to develop the world's first vehicle to be powered by such an engine. The Niépces' Pyréolophore was fuelled by a mixture of Lycopodium powder (dried spores of the Lycopodium plant), finely crushed coal dust and resin that were mixed with oil, whereas de Rivaz used a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen.[26] Neither design was very successful, as was the case with others, such as Samuel Brown, Samuel Morey, and Etienne Lenoir with his hippomobile, who each produced vehicles (usually adapted carriages or carts) powered by internal combustion engines.[1]

Car insurance groups uk 2013 Gustave Trouvé's tricycle, the first ever electric automobile to be shown in public More than car insurance quote phone number Karl Benz, the inventor of the modern car

In November 1881, French inventor Gustave Trouvé demonstrated the first working (three-wheeled) car powered by electricity at the International Exposition of Electricity, Paris.[27] Although several other German engineers (including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, and Siegfried Marcus) were working on the problem at about the same time, Karl Benz generally is acknowledged as the inventor of the modern car.[1]

Average car insurance cost in pa A photograph of the original Benz Patent-Motorwagen, first built in 1885 and awarded the patent for the concept

In 1879, Benz was granted a patent for his first engine, which had been designed in 1878. Many of his other inventions made the use of the internal combustion engine feasible for powering a vehicle. His first Motorwagen was built in 1885 in Mannheim, Germany. He was awarded the patent for its invention as of his application on 29 January 1886 (under the auspices of his major company, Benz & Cie., which was founded in 1883). Benz began promotion of the vehicle on 3 July 1886, and about 25 Benz vehicles were sold between 1888 and 1893, when his first four-wheeler was introduced along with a model intended for affordability. They also were powered with four-stroke engines of his own design. Emile Roger of France, already producing Benz engines under license, now added the Benz car to his line of products. Because France was more open to the early cars, initially more were built and sold in France through Roger than Benz sold in Germany. In August 1888 Bertha Benz, the wife of Karl Benz, undertook the first road trip by car, to prove the road-worthiness of her husband's invention.

Car haulers insurance Bertha Benz, the first long distance car driver in the world

In 1896, Benz designed and patented the first internal-combustion flat engine, called boxermotor. During the last years of the nineteenth century, Benz was the largest car company in the world with 572 units produced in 1899 and, because of its size, Benz & Cie., became a joint-stock company. The first motor car in central Europe and one of the first factory-made cars in the world, was produced by Czech company Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau (later renamed to Tatra) in 1897, the Präsident automobil.

Daimler and Maybach founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) in Cannstatt in 1890, and sold their first car in 1892 under the brand name Daimler. It was a horse-drawn stagecoach built by another manufacturer, which they retrofitted with an engine of their design. By 1895 about 30 vehicles had been built by Daimler and Maybach, either at the Daimler works or in the Hotel Hermann, where they set up shop after disputes with their backers. Benz, Maybach and the Daimler team seem to have been unaware of each other's early work. They never worked together; by the time of the merger of the two companies, Daimler and Maybach were no longer part of DMG. Daimler died in 1900 and later that year, Maybach designed an engine named Daimler-Mercedes that was placed in a specially ordered model built to specifications set by Emil Jellinek. This was a production of a small number of vehicles for Jellinek to race and market in his country. Two years later, in 1902, a new model DMG car was produced and the model was named Mercedes after the Maybach engine, which generated 35 hp. Maybach quit DMG shortly thereafter and opened a business of his own. Rights to the Daimler brand name were sold to other manufacturers.

Karl Benz proposed co-operation between DMG and Benz & Cie. when economic conditions began to deteriorate in Germany following the First World War, but the directors of DMG refused to consider it initially. Negotiations between the two companies resumed several years later when these conditions worsened and, in 1924 they signed an Agreement of Mutual Interest, valid until the year 2000. Both enterprises standardized design, production, purchasing, and sales and they advertised or marketed their car models jointly, although keeping their respective brands. On 28 June 1926, Benz & Cie. and DMG finally merged as the Daimler-Benz company, baptizing all of its cars Mercedes Benz, as a brand honoring the most important model of the DMG cars, the Maybach design later referred to as the 1902 Mercedes-35 hp, along with the Benz name. Karl Benz remained a member of the board of directors of Daimler-Benz until his death in 1929, and at times his two sons also participated in the management of the company.

Stolen car insurance settlements Émile Levassor Multi car insurance geico Armand Peugeot

In 1890, Émile Levassor and Armand Peugeot of France began producing vehicles with Daimler engines, and so laid the foundation of the automotive industry in France. In 1891, Auguste Doriot and his Peugeot colleague Louis Rigoulot completed the longest trip by a gasoline-powered vehicle when their self-designed and built Daimler powered Peugeot Type 3 completed 2,100 km (1,300 miles) from Valentigney to Paris and Brest and back again. They were attached to the first Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race, but finished 6 days after the winning cyclist, Charles Terront.

The first design for an American car with a gasoline internal combustion engine was made in 1877 by George Selden of Rochester, New York. Selden applied for a patent for a car in 1879, but the patent application expired because the vehicle was never built. After a delay of sixteen years and a series of attachments to his application, on 5 November 1895, Selden was granted a United States patent (U.S. Patent 549,160) for a two-stroke car engine, which hindered, more than encouraged, development of cars in the United States. His patent was challenged by Henry Ford and others, and overturned in 1911.

In 1893, the first running, gasoline-powered American car was built and road-tested by the Duryea brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts. The first public run of the Duryea Motor Wagon took place on 21 September 1893, on Taylor Street in Metro Center Springfield.[28][29] The Studebaker Automobile Company, subsidiary of a long-established wagon and coach manufacturer, started to build cars in 1897[30]:p.66 and commenced sales of electric vehicles in 1902 and gasoline vehicles in 1904.[31]

In Britain, there had been several attempts to build steam cars with varying degrees of success, with Thomas Rickett even attempting a production run in 1860.[32] Santler from Malvern is recognized by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain as having made the first gasoline-powered car in the country in 1894,[33] followed by Frederick William Lanchester in 1895, but these were both one-offs.[33] The first production vehicles in Great Britain came from the Daimler Company, a company founded by Harry J. Lawson in 1896, after purchasing the right to use the name of the engines. Lawson's company made its first car in 1897, and they bore the name Daimler.[33]

In 1892, German engineer Rudolf Diesel was granted a patent for a "New Rational Combustion Engine". In 1897, he built the first diesel engine.[1] Steam-, electric-, and gasoline-powered vehicles competed for decades, with gasoline internal combustion engines achieving dominance in the 1910s. Although various pistonless rotary engine designs have attempted to compete with the conventional piston and crankshaft design, only Mazda's version of the Wankel engine has had more than very limited success.

Mass production

See also: Automotive industry Car insurance aaa massachusetts Ransom E. Olds, founder of the Olds Motor Vehicle Company in 1897 (later known as Oldsmobile). Low rate car insurance nj cure Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Top 10 most expensive cars to insure 2016 1927 Ford Model T Temporary car insurance for 23 year old Kiichiro Toyoda, president of the Toyota Motor Corporation between 1941 and 1950. Comminsure car insurance pdsa Mass production at a Toyota plant in the 1950s.

The large-scale, production-line manufacturing of affordable cars was debuted by Ransom Olds in 1901 at his Oldsmobile factory located in Lansing, Michigan and based upon stationary assembly line techniques pioneered by Marc Isambard Brunel at the Portsmouth Block Mills, England, in 1802. The assembly line style of mass production and interchangeable parts had been pioneered in the U.S. by Thomas Blanchard in 1821, at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts.[34] This concept was greatly expanded by Henry Ford, beginning in 1913 with the world's first moving assembly line for cars at the Highland Park Ford Plant.

As a result, Ford's cars came off the line in fifteen-minute intervals, much faster than previous methods, increasing productivity eightfold, while using less manpower (from 12.5-man-hours to 1 hour 33 minutes).[35] It was so successful, paint became a bottleneck. Only Japan Black would dry fast enough, forcing the company to drop the variety of colors available before 1913, until fast-drying Duco lacquer was developed in 1926. This is the source of Ford's apocryphal remark, "any color as long as it's black".[35] In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months' pay.[35]

Ford's complex safety procedures—especially assigning each worker to a specific location instead of allowing them to roam about—dramatically reduced the rate of injury. The combination of high wages and high efficiency is called "Fordism," and was copied by most major industries. The efficiency gains from the assembly line also coincided with the economic rise of the United States. The assembly line forced workers to work at a certain pace with very repetitive motions which led to more output per worker while other countries were using less productive methods.

In the automotive industry, its success was dominating, and quickly spread worldwide seeing the founding of Ford France and Ford Britain in 1911, Ford Denmark 1923, Ford Germany 1925; in 1921, Citroen was the first native European manufacturer to adopt the production method. Soon, companies had to have assembly lines, or risk going broke; by 1930, 250 companies which did not, had disappeared.[35]

Development of automotive technology was rapid, due in part to the hundreds of small manufacturers competing to gain the world's attention. Key developments included electric ignition and the electric self-starter (both by Charles Kettering, for the Cadillac Motor Company in 1910–1911), independent suspension, and four-wheel brakes.

Since the 1920s, nearly all cars have been mass-produced to meet market needs, so marketing plans often have heavily influenced car design. It was Alfred P. Sloan who established the idea of different makes of cars produced by one company, called the General Motors Companion Make Program, so that buyers could "move up" as their fortunes improved.

Reflecting the rapid pace of change, makes shared parts with one another so larger production volume resulted in lower costs for each price range. For example, in the 1930s, LaSalles, sold by Cadillac, used cheaper mechanical parts made by Oldsmobile; in the 1950s, Chevrolet shared hood, doors, roof, and windows with Pontiac; by the 1990s, corporate powertrains and shared platforms (with interchangeable brakes, suspension, and other parts) were common. Even so, only major makers could afford high costs, and even companies with decades of production, such as Apperson, Cole, Dorris, Haynes, or Premier, could not manage: of some two hundred American car makers in existence in 1920, only 43 survived in 1930, and with the Great Depression, by 1940, only 17 of those were left.[35]

In Europe, much the same would happen. Morris set up its production line at Cowley in 1924, and soon outsold Ford, while beginning in 1923 to follow Ford's practice of vertical integration, buying Hotchkiss (engines), Wrigley (gearboxes), and Osberton (radiators), for instance, as well as competitors, such as Wolseley: in 1925, Morris had 41% of total British car production. Most British small-car assemblers, from Abbey to Xtra, had gone under. Citroen did the same in France, coming to cars in 1919; between them and other cheap cars in reply such as Renault's 10CV and Peugeot's 5CV, they produced 550,000 cars in 1925, and Mors, Hurtu, and others could not compete.[35] Germany's first mass-manufactured car, the Opel 4PS Laubfrosch (Tree Frog), came off the line at Russelsheim in 1924, soon making Opel the top car builder in Germany, with 37.5% of the market.[35]

In Japan, car production was very limited before World War II. Only a handful of companines were producing vehicles in limited numbers, and these were small, three-wheeled for commercial uses, like Daihatsu, or were the result of partnering with European companies, like Isuzu building the Wolseley A-9 in 1922. Mitsubishi was also partnered with Fiat and built the Mitsubishi Model A based on a Fiat vehicle. Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, and Honda began as companies producing non-automotive products before the war, switching to car production during the 1950s. Kiichiro Toyoda's decision to take Toyoda Loom Works into automobile manufacturing would create what would eventually become Toyota Motor Corporation, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Subaru, meanwhile, was formed from a conglomerate of six companies who banded together as Fuji Heavy Industries, as a result of having been broken up under keiretsu legislation.

Fuel and propulsion technologies

Grange classic car insurance The Nissan Leaf is an all-electric car launched in December 2010 See also: Alternative fuel vehicle

Most cars in use today are propelled by an internal combustion engine, fueled by deflagration of gasoline or diesel. Both fuels are known to cause air pollution and are also blamed for contributing to climate change and global warming.[4] Rapidly increasing oil prices, concerns about oil dependence, tightening environmental laws and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions are propelling work on alternative power systems for cars. Efforts to improve or replace existing technologies include the development of hybrid vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles. Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles are also gaining popularity in some countries. Cars for racing or speed records have sometimes employed jet or rocket engines, but these are impractical for common use.

Oil consumption in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been abundantly pushed by car growth; the 1985–2003 oil glut even fuelled the sales of low-economy vehicles in OECD countries. The BRIC countries are adding to this consumption; in December 2009 China was briefly the largest car market.[36]

User interface

See also: Car controls 51 victoria car insurance In the Ford Model T the left-side hand lever sets the rear wheel parking brakes and puts the transmission in neutral. The lever to the right controls the throttle. The lever on the left of the steering column is for ignition timing. The left foot pedal changes the two forward gears while the centre pedal controls reverse. The right pedal is the brake.

Cars are equipped with controls used for driving, passenger comfort and safety, normally operated by a combination of the use of feet and hands, and occasionally by voice on 2000s-era cars. These controls include a steering wheel, pedals for operating the brakes and controlling the car's speed (and, in a manual transmission car, a clutch pedal), a shift lever or stick for changing gears, and a number of buttons and dials for turning on lights, ventilation and other functions. Modern cars' controls are now standardised, such as the location for the accelerator and brake, but this was not always the case. Controls are evolving in response to new technologies, for example the electric car and the integration of mobile communications.

Since the car was first invented, its controls have become fewer and simpler through automation. For example, all cars once had a manual controls for the choke valve, clutch, ignition timing, and a crank instead of an electric starter. However new controls have also been added to vehicles, making them more complex. Examples include air conditioning, navigation systems, and in car entertainment. Another trend is the replacement of physical knob and switches for secondary controls with touchscreen controls such as BMW's iDrive and Ford's MyFord Touch. Another change is that while early cars' pedals were physically linked to the brake mechanism and throttle, in the 2010s, cars have increasingly replaced these physical linkages with electronic controls.


Main article: Automotive lighting Best car insurance for under 25 nsw lotteries LED daytime running lights on an Audi A4

Cars are typically fitted with multiple types of lights. These include headlights, which are used to illuminate the way ahead and make the car visible to other users, so that the vehicle can be used at night; in some jurisdictions, daytime running lights; red brake lights to indicate when the brakes are applied; amber turn signal lights to indicate the turn intentions of the driver; white-coloured reverse lights to illuminate the area behind the car (and indicate that the driver will be or is reversing); and on some vehicles, additional lights (e.g., side marker lights) to increase the visibility of the car. Interior lights on the ceiling of the car are usually fitted for the driver and passengers. Some vehicles also have a trunk light and, more rarely, an engine compartment light.


Car insurance lubbock texas The Smart Fortwo car from 1998-2002, weighing 730 kg (1,610 lb) Search car insurance database A Chevrolet Suburban extended-length SUV weighs 3,300 kg (7,200 lb) (gross weight)[37]

In the United States, "from 1975 to 1980, average [car] weight dropped from 1,842 to 1,464 kg (4,060 to 3,228 lb), likely in response to rising gasoline prices" and new fuel efficiency standards.[38] The average new car weighed 1,461 kg (3,221 lb) in 1987 but 1,818 kg (4,009 lb) in 2010, due to modern steel safety cages, anti-lock brakes, airbags, and "more-powerful—if more-efficient—engines."[39] Heavier cars are safer for the driver, from an accident perspective, but more dangerous for other vehicles and road users.[39] The weight of a car influences fuel consumption and performance, with more weight resulting in increased fuel consumption and decreased performance. The SmartFortwo, a small city car, weighs 750–795 kg (1,655–1,755 lb). Heavier cars include full-size cars, SUVs and extended-length SUVs like the Suburban.

According to research conducted by Julian Allwood of the University of Cambridge, global energy use could be heavily reduced by using lighter cars, and an average weight of 500 kg (1,100 lb) has been said to be well achievable.[40] In some competitions such as the Shell Eco Marathon, average car weights of 45 kg (99 lb) have also been achieved.[41][42] These cars are only single-seaters (still falling within the definition of a car, although 4-seater cars are more common), but they nevertheless demonstrate the amount by which car weights could still be reduced, and the subsequent lower fuel use (i.e. up to a fuel use of 2560 km/l).[43]

Seating and body style

See also: Car body style

Most cars are designed to carry multiple occupants, often with four or five seats. Cars with five seats typically seat two passengers in the front and three in the rear. Full-size cars and large sport utility vehicles can often carry six, seven, or more occupants depending on the arrangement of the seats. In the other hand, sports cars are most often designed with only two seats. The differing needs for passenger capacity and their luggage or cargo space has resulted in the availability of a large variety of body styles to meet individual consumer requirements that include, among others, the sedan/saloon, hatchback, station wagon/estate, and minivan.


Main articles: Car safety, Traffic accident, Low speed vehicle, and Epidemiology of motor vehicle collisions Car comprehensive insurance sydney Result of a serious car accident

Road traffic accidents are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.[6] Mary Ward became one of the first documented car fatalities in 1869 in Parsonstown, Ireland,[44] and Henry Bliss one of the United States' first pedestrian car casualties in 1899 in New York City.[45] There are now standard tests for safety in new cars, such as the EuroNCAP and the US NCAP tests,[46] and insurance-industry-backed tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).[47]

Worldwide, road traffic is becoming ever safer, in part due to efforts by the government to implement safety features in cars (e.g., seat belts, air bags, etc.), reduce unsafe driving practices (e.g., speeding, drinking and driving and texting and driving) and make road design more safe by adding features such as speed bumps, which reduce vehicle speed, and roundabouts, which reduce the likelihood of a head-on-collision (as compared with an intersection).

Costs and benefits

Main articles: Economics of car usage, Car costs, and Effects of the car on societies Car insurance group 15 amendment Road congestion is an issue in many major cities. (pictured is Chang'an Avenue in Beijing)[48]

The costs of car usage, which may include the cost of: acquiring the vehicle, repairs and auto maintenance, fuel, depreciation, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance,[5] are weighed against the cost of the alternatives, and the value of the benefits – perceived and real – of vehicle usage. The benefits may include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence and convenience.[7] During the 1920s, cars had another benefit: "[c]ouples finally had a way to head off on unchaperoned dates, plus they had a private space to snuggle up close at the end of the night."[49]

Similarly the costs to society of encompassing car use, which may include those of: maintaining roads, land use, air pollution, road congestion, public health, health care, and of disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life, can be balanced against the value of the benefits to society that car use generates. The societal benefits may include: economy benefits, such as job and wealth creation, of car production and maintenance, transportation provision, society wellbeing derived from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the tax opportunities. The ability for humans to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies.[8]

Environmental impact

See also: Exhaust gas Tata aig car insurance online renewal Vehicles in use per country from 2001 to 2007. It shows the significant growth in BRIC. Classic car insurance london World map of passenger cars per 1000 people

While there are different types of fuel that may power cars, most rely on gasoline or diesel. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that the average vehicle emits 8,887 grams of carbon dioxide per gallon of gasoline. The average vehicle running on diesel fuel will emit 10,180 grams of carbon dioxide.[50] Many governments are using fiscal policies (such as road tax or the US gas guzzler tax) to influence vehicle purchase decisions, with a low CO2 figure often resulting in reduced taxation.[51] Fuel taxes may act as an incentive for the production of more efficient, hence less polluting, car designs (e.g. hybrid vehicles) and the development of alternative fuels. High fuel taxes may provide a strong incentive for consumers to purchase lighter, smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, or to not drive. On average, today's cars are about 75 percent recyclable, and using recycled steel helps reduce energy use and pollution.[52] In the United States Congress, federally mandated fuel efficiency standards have been debated regularly, passenger car standards have not risen above the 27.5 miles per US gallon (8.6 L/100 km; 33.0 mpg‑imp) standard set in 1985. Light truck standards have changed more frequently, and were set at 22.2 miles per US gallon (10.6 L/100 km; 26.7 mpg‑imp) in 2007.[53]

The manufacture of vehicles is resource intensive, and many manufacturers now report on the environmental performance of their factories, including energy usage, waste and water consumption.[54]

The growth in popularity of the car allowed cities to sprawl, therefore encouraging more travel by car resulting in inactivity and obesity, which in turn can lead to increased risk of a variety of diseases.[55]

Transportation (of all types including trucks, buses and cars) is a major contributor to air pollution in most industrialised nations. According to the American Surface Transportation Policy Project nearly half of all Americans are breathing unhealthy air. Their study showed air quality in dozens of metropolitan areas has worsened over the last decade.[56]

Animals and plants are often negatively impacted by cars via habitat destruction and pollution. Over the lifetime of the average car the "loss of habitat potential" may be over 50,000 m2 (540,000 sq ft) based on primary production correlations.[57] Animals are also killed every year on roads by cars, referred to as roadkill. More recent road developments are including significant environmental mitigations in their designs such as green bridges to allow wildlife crossings, and creating wildlife corridors.

Growth in the popularity of vehicles and commuting has led to traffic congestion. Brussels was considered Europe's most congested city in 2011 according to TomTom.[58]

Emerging car technologies

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Car propulsion technologies that are under development include gasoline/electric and plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles, hydrogen cars, biofuels, and various alternative fuels. Research into future alternative forms of power include the development of fuel cells, Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI), Stirling engines,[59] and even using the stored energy of compressed air or liquid nitrogen.

New materials which may replace steel car bodies include duralumin, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and carbon nanotubes. Telematics technology is allowing more and more people to share cars, on a pay-as-you-go basis, through car share and carpool schemes. Communication is also evolving due to connected car systems.

Autonomous car

Main article: Autonomous car Canned haggis sainsbury's car insurance A robotic Volkswagen Passat shown at Stanford University is a driverless car

Fully autonomous vehicles, also known as driverless cars, already exist in prototype (such as the Google driverless car), and are expected to be commercially available around 2020. According to urban designer and futurist Michael E. Arth, driverless electric vehicles—in conjunction with the increased use of virtual reality for work, travel, and pleasure—could reduce the world's 800 million vehicles to a fraction of that number within a few decades.[60] This would be possible if almost all private cars requiring drivers, which are not in use and parked 90% of the time, would be traded for public self-driving taxis that would be in near constant use. This would also allow for getting the appropriate vehicle for the particular need—a bus could come for a group of people, a limousine could come for a special night out, and a Segway could come for a short trip down the street for one person. Children could be chauffeured in supervised safety, DUIs would no longer exist, and 41,000 lives could be saved each year in the US alone.[61][62]

Open source development

Main article: Open source car

There have been several projects aiming to develop a car on the principles of open design, an approach to designing in which the plans for the machinery and systems are publicly shared, often without monetary compensation. The projects include OScar, Riversimple (through 40fires.org)[63] and c,mm,n.[64] None of the projects have reached significant success in terms of developing a car as a whole both from hardware and software perspective and no mass production ready open-source based design have been introduced as of late 2009. Some car hacking through on-board diagnostics (OBD) has been done so far.[65]


Main article: Automotive industry Declaration page of car insurance geico A car being assembled in a factory

The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells the world's motor vehicles. In 2008, more than 70 million motor vehicles, including cars and commercial vehicles were produced worldwide.[66]

In 2007, a total of 71.9 million new cars were sold worldwide: 22.9 million in Europe, 21.4 million in the Asia-Pacific Region, 19.4 million in the USA and Canada, 4.4 million in Latin America, 2.4 million in the Middle East and 1.4 million in Africa.[67] The markets in North America and Japan were stagnant, while those in South America and other parts of Asia grew strongly. Of the major markets, China, Russia, Brazil and India saw the most rapid growth.

About 250 million vehicles are in use in the United States. Around the world, there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the road in 2007; they burn over 260 billion US gallons (980,000,000 m3) of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly. The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in China and India.[11] In the opinion of some, urban transport systems based around the car have proved unsustainable, consuming excessive energy, affecting the health of populations, and delivering a declining level of service despite increasing investments. Many of these negative impacts fall disproportionately on those social groups who are also least likely to own and drive cars.[68][69][70] The sustainable transport movement focuses on solutions to these problems.

In 2008, with rapidly rising oil prices, industries such as the automotive industry, are experiencing a combination of pricing pressures from raw material costs and changes in consumer buying habits. The industry is also facing increasing external competition from the public transport sector, as consumers re-evaluate their private vehicle usage.[71] Roughly half of the US's fifty-one light vehicle plants are projected to permanently close in the coming years, with the loss of another 200,000 jobs in the sector, on top of the 560,000 jobs lost this decade.[72] Combined with robust growth in China, in 2009, this resulted in China becoming the largest car producer and market in the world. China 2009 sales had increased to 13.6 million, a significant increase from one million of domestic car sales in 2000.[73] Since then however, even in China and other BRIC countries, the automotive production is again falling.[74]


Main article: Alternatives to car use Car finance shortfall insurance The Vélib' in Paris is the largest bikesharing system outside of China[75]

Established alternatives for some aspects of car use include public transit such as buses, trolleybuses, trains, subways, tramways light rail, cycling, and walking. Car-share arrangements and carpooling are also increasingly popular, in the US and Europe.[76] For example, in the US, some car-sharing services have experienced double-digit growth in revenue and membership growth between 2006 and 2007. Services like car sharing offering a residents to "share" a vehicle rather than own a car in already congested neighborhoods.[77] Bike-share systems have been tried in some European cities, including Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Similar programs have been experimented with in a number of US Cities.[78] Additional individual modes of transport, such as personal rapid transit could serve as an alternative to cars if they prove to be socially accepted.[79]

Other meanings

The term motorcar has formerly also been used in the context of electrified rail systems to denote a car which functions as a small locomotive but also provides space for passengers and baggage. These locomotive cars were often used on suburban routes by both interurban and intercity railroad systems.[80]

See also

  • Cars portal
Main article: Outline of automobiles
  • Car costs
  • Car classification
  • Carfree city
  • List of countries by automobile production
  • List of countries by vehicles per capita
  • Lists of automobiles
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Noise pollution
  • Peak car
  • Steering
  • Traffic collision
  • Traffic congestion


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Further reading

  • Halberstam, David, The Reckoning, New York, Morrow, 1986. ISBN 0-688-04838-2
  • Kay, Jane Holtz, Asphalt nation : how the automobile took over America, and how we can take it back, New York, Crown, 1997. ISBN 0-517-58702-5
  • Heathcote Williams, Autogeddon, New York, Arcade, 1991. ISBN 1-55970-176-5
  • Wolfgang Sachs: For love of the automobile: looking back into the history of our desires, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992, ISBN 0-520-06878-5

External links

Is my car insured when i drive it off the lot Wikimedia Commons has media related to Automobile.
Comparison car insurance rates Wikisource has original text related to this article: California AB 1493
How much is car insurance for a learner driver Look up car in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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Cheap short term car insurance under 21 This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Ageas insurance limited car insurance contact number US Navy motorcycle training at Imperial Beach

Motorcycle safety concerns many aspects of vehicle and equipment design as well as operator skill and training that are unique to motorcycle riding.


  • 1 Accident rates
  • 2 Research
    • 2.1 Hurt Report
    • 2.2 MAIDS report
    • 2.3 Olsen Report
    • 2.4 Inconclusive findings on conspicuity
  • 3 Attitudes about risk
  • 4 Motorcycle Safety and Society
    • 4.1 View from the society
    • 4.2 Roadside Safety
  • 5 Controversy
  • 6 Motorcycle deaths and military personnel
  • 7 Consequences of accidents
  • 8 Personal protective equipment
    • 8.1 Functions of PPE
    • 8.2 Items of PPE
  • 9 Training
    • 9.1 Countersteering
  • 10 Motorcycle equipment
    • 10.1 Airbag devices
  • 11 See also
  • 12 References
  • 13 Further reading
  • 14 External links

Accident rates

Triple aaa car rental insurance A CalTrans sign on the 91 eastbound in Anaheim, cautioning drivers to be on the lookout for motorcyclists who may be in their blind spots

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2006, 13.10 cars out of 100,000 ended up in fatal crashes. The rate for motorcycles is 72.34 per 100,000 registered motorcycles.[1] Motorcycles also have a higher fatality rate per unit of distance travelled when compared with automobiles. Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists' risk of a fatal crash is 35 times greater than a passenger car.[1] In 2004, figures from the UK Department for Transport indicated that motorcycles have 16 times the rate of serious injuries compared to cars.[2]

A national study by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATS) found that:

  • Motorcycle rider death rates increased among all rider age groups between 1998 and 2000
  • Motorcycle rider deaths were nearly 30 times more than drivers of other vehicles
  • Motorcycle riders aged below 40 are 36 times more likely to be killed than other vehicle operators of the same age.
  • Motorcycle riders aged 40 years and over are around 20 times more likely to be killed than other drivers of that same age.[3]

According to 2005 data from the NHTSA, 4,008 motorcycle riders were killed on United States roads in 2004, an 8% increase from 2003.[4]

During that same period, drivers of automobiles showed a 10% increase in fatalities, while cyclists showed an 8% increase in fatalities. Pedestrians also showed a 10% increase in fatalities. A total of 37,304 automobile occupants were killed on U.S. roads in 2004.[5]

Additional data from the United States reveals that there are over four million motorcycles registered in the United States. Motorcycle fatalities represent approximately five percent of all highway fatalities each year, yet motorcycles represent just two percent of all registered vehicles in the United States. One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash. For example, approximately 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is about 20 percent.[6]


Two major scientific research studies into the causes of motorcycle accidents have been conducted in North America and Europe: the Hurt Report and the MAIDS report.

Hurt Report

Main article: Hurt Report

A major work done on this subject in the USA is the Hurt Report, published in 1981 with data collected in Los Angeles and the surrounding rural areas.[7] There have been longstanding calls for a new safety study in the US, and Congress has provided the seed money for such a project, but as yet the remainder of the funding has not all been pledged.[8]

The Hurt Report concluded with a list of 55 findings, as well as several major recommendations for law enforcement and legislation. Among these, 75% of motorcycle accidents involved collision with another vehicle, usually a car. In the MAIDS report, the figure is 60%.

Other notable findings in the Hurt report (quoted below) were:[9]

  • 75% of accidents were found to involve a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle, while the remaining 25% of accidents were single motorcycle accidents.
  • In the single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating factor in about two-thirds of the cases, with the typical error being a slide-out and fall due to overbraking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or lack of side bite.
  • Almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement.
  • Injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement and motorcycle size.
  • In the multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.
  • The report's additional findings show that the wearing of appropriate gear, specifically, helmets and durable garment, mitigates crash injuries substantially.
  • Vehicle failure accounted for less than 3% of these motorcycle accidents, and most of those were single vehicle accidents where control was lost due to a puncture flat.
  • Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents.
  • The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents... Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps-on In daylight and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.

MAIDS report

Main article: MAIDS report

The most recent large-scale study of motorcycle accidents is the MAIDS report carried out in five European countries in 1999 to 2000, using the rigorous OECD standards, including a statistically significant sample size of over 900 crash incidents and over 900 control cases.

The MAIDS report tends to support most of the Hurt Report findings, for example that "69% of the OV [other vehicle] drivers attempted no collision avoidance manoeuvre," suggesting they did not see the motorcycle. And further that, "the largest number of PTW [powered two-wheeler] accidents is due to a perception failure on the part of the OV driver or the PTW rider." And "The data indicates that in 68.7% of all cases, the helmet was capable of preventing or reducing the head injury sustained by the rider (i.e., 33.2% + 35.5%). In 3.6% of all cases, the helmet was found to have no effect upon head injury" and "There were no reported cases in which the helmet was identified as the contact code for a serious or maximum neck injury."[10]

Olsen Report

A lesser-known study, known as the Olsen Report after the lead investigator in a 1979 University of Michigan study[citation needed], found that rider safety could be enhanced by wearing conspicuous clothing (especially yellow-green); using headlights in daytime, especially modulated headlights; and using running lights and wearing retro-reflective clothing at night.[11]:159–161

Inconclusive findings on conspicuity

A New Zealand study using data taken between 1993-96 in the city of Auckland, a "predominantly urban area" (Wells et al.[12] ) supported the Hurt Report's call for increased rider conspicuity, claiming that riders wearing white or light colored helmets, fluorescent or reflective clothing or using daytime headlights were under-represented when compared to a group of motorcycle accident victims. The accident victims were those who were killed, admitted or treated at hospital "with an injury severity score >5 within 24 hours of a motorcycle crash". Accidents that did not result in hospitalization or treatment for a critical injury, or a death were not considered, nor was there any consideration of involvement of other road users, or culpability. The definition of reflective or fluorescent clothing was taken to include "clothing or other articles such as a jacket, vest, apron, sash, ankle or wrist band, or back pack including stripes, decals or strips". No assessment of the type (open or full-face) of helmet was undertaken. Most of the crashes took place in "urban 50 km/h (31 mph) speed limit zones (66%), during the day (64%) and in fine weather (72%)". No association was observed between risk of crash related injury and the frontal colour of the drivers' (sic) clothing or motorcycle.

The MAIDS report did not publish information on helmet color or the prevalence of reflective or fluorescent clothing in either the accident or control groups, or the use of lights in the control group, and therefore drew no statistical conclusions on their effectiveness, neither confirming nor refuting the claims of the Wells report. In each MAIDS case, the clothing worn by the rider was photographed and evaluated.

MAIDS found that motorcycles painted white were actually over-represented in the accident sample compared to the exposure data.[13] On clothing, MAIDS used a "purely subjective" determination of if and how the clothing worn probably affected conspicuity in the accident. The report concluded that "in 65.3% of all cases, the clothing made no contribution to the conspicuity of the rider or the PTW [powered two-wheeler, i.e. motorcycle]. There were very few cases found in which the bright clothing of the PTW rider enhanced the PTW’s overall conspicuity (46 cases). There were more cases in which the use of dark clothing decreased the conspicuity of the rider and the PTW (120 cases)." MAIDs concluded that in one case dark clothing actually increased conspicuity but reported none where bright clothing decreased it.[14]

Attitudes about risk

White stag head sainsbury's car insurance Some riders take few steps to mitigate the risks of motorcycling.

Transportation historian Jeremy Packer has suggested four categories to describe the different approaches to the risks of motorcycling. The first and fourth categories take opposite views of motorcycling, but share a fatalistic notion that to motorcycle is to tempt fate. The second and third categories differ in the degree of emphasis they place on measures to limit the risk of riding, but share the view that riders have some degree of control and are not victims of fate.[15]

  1. Quit riding. Or ban motorcycling; this is the belief that motorcycling is too dangerous. Some former motorcyclists had an epiphany due to an accident involving themselves or a person they know, which permanently upends their view of motorcycling. Some are adamant in their opposition to motorcycling, unwilling to consider the merits or pleasures of riding due to their horror at the danger and physical carnage of motorcycle accidents. Agony aunt the late Claire Rayner, in her review of Melissa Holbrook Pierson's motorcycling book The Perfect Vehicle, admitted her prejudice, that nothing Pierson writes could change her attitude about motorcycling because, "I used to be hospital casualty nurse and spent so much time dealing with bikers who were scraped off the road like so much raspberry jam after accidents that I became an implacable hater of the machine... The danger to which bikers constantly put themselves, however well-wrapped in their urban armour of studded leather, and however horrendously helmeted, seems to me a reason for banning the infernal machines. ...a smell of blood and smashed muscle and bone mixed with engine oil. That is what motor cycle means to me. And, I'm afraid, always will."[16] Some safety experts have advocated banning motorcycling altogether as being untenably dangerous.[17][18]
  2. Hyperreflective self-disciplinary. This attitude to risk consists of self-criticism, constant vigilance, perpetual training and practice, and continual upgrading of safety equipment. It is sometimes a reaction to an epiphany. There are many examples of riding advice which enumerate strategies for avoiding danger while riding, but they de-emphasize the rider accepting inherent risk as part of riding, instead emphasizing the rider's agency, based on his education and practice, in determining whether he will crash or not, and the utility of the correct safety gear in whether or not he will be injured in a crash.[15][19] David Edwards of Cycle World wrote, "Here's the thing: motorcycles are not dangerous," saying that if a rider has a license, attends riding schools, wears all the gear all the time (ATGATT), and develops an accident avoidance sixth sense, motorcycling can become safe; "... do all of these things, become really serious about your roadcraft, and you'll be so under-represented in accident statistics as to become almost bulletproof."[20] Kevin Cameron, also in Cycle World wrote, "[J]udgment improves with use. The longer you ride, the safer your operation tends to become. You learn to control your vehicle in a wider variety of situations, and you learn the value of playing three moves ahead of the four-wheeled traffic around you—as you must. In the process, you become a better automobile driver as well as a more skilled motorcyclist.".[21] An Oregon reporter interviewed professional riding instructors and highly trained motorcycle officers about their risk reduction strategy and found that "they constantly tweaked their habits to stay sharp. Many never ride with groups, which they consider a distraction. They stay home on holidays and wear the most reflective gear, not black. And increasingly they talk about driving impaired – not by drugs and alcohol – but by fatigue and exposure."[22]
  3. Risk Valorization.[23] This is the acceptance that risk is unavoidable but can be embraced by making certain choices, whereby motorcyclists, "reappropriate risk and motorcycling as something which can't be measured only according to utility and efficiency... This discourse doesn't eschew safety in absolute terms, but neither does it maintain the validity of safety as the be-all and end-all for riding."[15] Motorcycling advocate and writer Wendy Moon said that one of the reasons she relaxed her insistence on always wearing a helmet while riding was that she no longer considered it worth "the mental effort required to maintain that protective attitude. I am not free to live in the now because I’m enslaved to the future 'what if.' ...So we gradually distance ourselves from experiencing a full and free life and we don’t even know it. As a society, we’re like kids so bundled up against the snow we cannot move at all.... Embracing that risk rejuvenates the soul and empowers one to live the rest of her life as she wants."[24]
  4. Flaunting risk. Hunter S. Thompson's passages in his book Hell's Angels have been quoted by Packer and others as perhaps the best illustrations of the devil-may-care approach of a sizable group of motorcyclists: "They shun even the minimum safety measures that most cyclists take for granted. You will never see a Hell's Angel wearing a crash helmet. Nor do they wear Brando-Dylan-style 'silver-studded phantom' leather jackets," and "anything safe, they want no part of", and "The Angels don't want anybody to think they're hedging their bets."[25] In his essay Song of the Sausage Creature, Thompson wrote, "It is an atavistic mentality, a peculiar mix of low style, high speed, pure dumbness, and overweening commitment to the Cafe Life and all its dangerous pleasures."[26] Packer calls it, "a fate driven sensibility."[15]

Packer is a Michel Foucault-inspired historian who sees the approach to motorcycle safety found in mainstream sport and touring motorcycling media, supported by the MSF, and generally consistent with the advice of transport agencies, such as the US National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety,[27] as an ideology or "discourse", and places it as only one among multiple ideologies one may hold about motorcycling risk.[15] While giving respect to the first two discourses, Packer himself is sympathetic to the third approach and disdainful of the fourth. Packer's analysis of the second category, hyperreflective self-disciplinary, acknowledges that seriousness, sobriety, ongoing training, and wearing complete safety gear is not misguided, but also has concerns over its close alignment with the profit motives of the insurance industry, the motorcycle safety gear advertisers, and the public relations desires of motorcycle manufacturers, as well as governmental bureaucratic inertia and mission creep.[15] He sees motorcyclists who make non-utilitarian choices balancing risk and reward as being as respectable as other categories.[15]

BMW psychologist and researcher Bernt Spiegel has found that non-motorcyclists and novice motorcyclists usually share the fatalistic attitude described by Thompson, insofar as they think that high speed motorcycling is like a game of chicken or Russian roulette, where the rider tests his courage to see how close he can come to "the edge", or specifically the limit of traction while braking or cornering, without having any idea how close he is to exceeding that limit and crashing.[28] In Thompson's words in Hell's Angels it is, "The Edge... There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others — the living — are those who pushed their luck as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later."[25][29]

Spiegel disagrees that only those who have "gone over", that is, crashed or died, know the location of the boundary line. He says that if motorcycle racers, or even non-professional advanced riders who ride modern sport bikes near their performance limits, were approaching the limits of traction blindly, they would be like a group of blind men wandering around the top of a building, and most of them would wander off the edge and fall. In fact, Spiegel says, crashes among skilled high speed riders are so infrequent that it must be the case that they can feel where the limit of traction is as they approach the limit, before they lose traction. Spiegel's physiological and psychological experiments helped explore how it is possible for a good rider to extend his perception beyond the controls of his motorcycle out to the interface between the contact patches of his motorcycle and the road surface.

Those subscribing to the first and fourth of Packer's risk categories are likely to believe no rider can sense when he is near the traction limit, while the second and third risk categories include those who share Spiegel's view that a rider need not lose traction and start to skid to know where the limit is.[28] Motorcycle Consumer News Proficient Motorcycling columnist Ken Condon put it that, "The best riders are able to measure traction with a good amount of accuracy" even though that amount changes depending on the motorcycle, the tires and the tires' condition, and the varying qualities of the road surface.[30] But Condon says the rider feels the limit of traction through his hand and foot interface with the handelbars and footpegs, and the seat, rather than extending his perception out to the contact patch itself.[30]

Motorcycle Safety and Society

View from the society

In many countries, incompatibility issues exist between motorcycle riders risk attitudes and nationwide road safety plans. Western democratic societies often rely upon fundamental utilitarian views to achieve its function, such as setting the limits to individual freedom to guarantee public safety. Vision Zero and other absolute political goals are fundamentally incongruent with the individualistic philosophy of risk acceptance and valorization. For years, in France, legislative measures have been taken to limit the output power of two wheeled vehicles. [31] Talks about mandatory speed limiting devices have surged uproar in the motorcycle communities in countries such as the UK and Sweden.[32] [33] However, rallies and motorcyclists’ right organizations have helped inform public officials about the negative impacts of such restrictions on their communities, with no reports of such devices being fitted having seen the day. Instead, collaboration with these groups are leading to increased focus on rider training and roadside safety measures.[33] Moreover, focus is shifted towards the statistically largest percentage of accidents, which are due to alcohol and drug use, non street-legal motorcycles, and riders not having a valid motorcycle license. [34]

Roadside Safety

Roads are primarily designed for their main users cars, and are seldom engineered with motorcycle specific safety in focus. The choice of roadside barriers and guardrails to prevent vehicles from crossing over a median or running of the road have proved to be dangerous for motorcyclists, as they are designed to dissipate braking energy for much heavier and structurally tougher cars and trucks. [35] Moreover they are designed to be impacted on the sliding rail and not at their support poles, which act as swords to unprotected road users. [36] Statistical explanation for the automobile bias are found in use and fatality figures, motorcyclists are in numerical minority. [37]

Road surface can also contributes to crash. A sudden change in the surface can be sufficient to cause a momentary loss of traction, and destabilize the motorcycle. The risk of skidding increases if the motorcyclist is braking or changing direction. This is due to the fact that most of the braking and steering control are through the front wheel, power being through the rear wheel. [38] During maintenance, the choice of material can be inadequate for motorcycles. For example, asphalt sealer is used to fill and repair cracks in asphalt paving, but this often creates a slick surface that can cause a motorcycle to lose traction. [39] Sometimes, steel plates are used as temporary covers over road trenches. The sliding nature of those, combined with an inappropriate installation can cause incidents. [38]

According to Victorian motorcycle advocate Rodney Brown, the nature and likely consequences of hazards differ significantly for motorcyclists compared to drivers of other vehicles. [40] For example, the current highway standards in the US permit pavement ridges of up to 1.5 inches (about 3.8 centimeters) without tapering, which pose a significant hazard to motorcycles. [39] Potholes and presence of debris pose a greater hazard for motorcyclists than drivers of larger vehicles, because the former can cause a loss of stability and control and the latter can deflect a motorcycle's wheel at impact. [40]


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Alfa car insurance policy A motorcyclist stopped by dairy cows crossing the road in rural Wisconsin

In 2007, a report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) claimed that "supersport" motorcycles were four times more likely to be involved in highway crashes than other types. When reprinting this press release as a news report, USA Today omitted the word "insurance" from the "Insurance Institute for Highway Safety", giving a false impression the IIHS is a governmental agency, not a private nonprofit organization.[41]

According to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), the IIHS report was an attempt to either ban entire categories of motorcycles, or a covert attempt to support legislative requirements for speed governors in all vehicles.[42] The IIHS report was not a new study, being an analysis of existing data from the national Fatal Accident Reporting System. The methodology consisted of a comparison of fatalities for different styles of motorcycles based on a rate per 10,000 registrations. The report did not incorporate key factors, such as the number of miles the bike was ridden, the traffic environment in which it was used, along with the age and experience of the rider, among others.[42]

In an attempt to sort through this confusion, the AMA requested a copy of the classification system the IIHS used in its analysis and found several significant anomalies. For instance, although the IIHS report focused on speed and acceleration as the factors that make its "supersport" category so dangerous, the two most powerful motorcycles that were available at the time in the United States, the Kawasaki ZX-14 and Suzuki Hayabusa, are placed in the Sport category, which are rated considerably less dangerous. And they share that category with the Honda ST1300 and Yamaha FJR1300, two sport-touring bikes.

The AMA thought the timing of the IIHS report was unusual. The National Transportation Safety Board specifically asked the Federal Highway Administration to work with states to develop uniform data-collection procedures that will result in better information about the number of miles traveled by motorcycles, one of the most important factors in evaluating crash statistics. As a result, this could be one of the final reports to use registration data exclusively, which is less accurate in reflecting actual motorcycle use.[42]

This new IIHS report is remarkably similar to a study the group financed twenty years ago that also purported to show higher fatality rates among sportbikes. At that time, the IIHS used its study as the springboard for a well-orchestrated campaign that included ready-made news footage it fed to TV news operations across the country. That campaign culminated in the introduction of a bill in the U.S. Senate to impose a horsepower limit on all motorcycles sold in the U.S.

In response to that previous attempt by the IIHS to ban sportbikes, the AMA conducted an analysis of the study and raised questions that the Association submitted to Harry Hurt, lead researcher on the most comprehensive study of motorcycle crashes ever conducted. Hurt reviewed the research and declared it "fatally flawed" for exactly the kind of methodology problems seen in the new IIHS report. The Association then coordinated a campaign among motorcyclists across the country that eventually led the senator to withdraw his proposed legislation.[42]

The new IIHS report came out just as the AMA and the motorcycling community was successful in getting federal funding for the first comprehensive motorcycle safety study since the Hurt Report.[42]

Motorcycle deaths and military personnel

See also: Motorcycle training § Armed forces off-duty riding

Data from the Iraq War era showed that United States military veterans returning from Southwest Asia combat areas were dying in motorcycle related fatalities. Between October 2007 and October 2008, 24 active-duty Marines died from motorcycle accidents. There were 4,810 deaths on motorcycles in the U.S. in 2006, an increase of 5 percent over the previous year, and more than double (2,161) over the decade before, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the Marine Corps, high-speed bikes accounted for the majority of fatalities. In 2007, 78 percent of motorcycle mishaps in the Marines occurred on a sport bike, compared to 38 percent nationally.[43] In a chapter of Coming and Going on Bikes, Iraq War veteran and author Jack Lewis observed combat veterans' disordered perception of risk, resulting in nearly suicidal behavior: "We already walked through the world's worst neighborhoods with bullseyes painted on our chests... the most at-risk riders in the military community are risk-tolerant, adrenaline-juicing combat professionals."[44]

Consequences of accidents

Short term car insurance comparison A motorcyclist unbuckles his chin strap in order to remove his helmet after sustaining a minor hand injury through losing control on a wet corner.

Once the collision has occurred, or the rider has lost control through some other mishap, several common types of injury occur when the bike falls:

  • Collision with less forgiving protective barriers or roadside "furniture" (lampposts, signs, fences, etc...). Note that when one falls off a motorcycle in the middle of a curve, lamps and signs become impossible to negotiate around.
  • Concussion and brain damage, as the head violently contacts other vehicles or objects. Riders wearing an approved helmet reduce the risk of death by 37 percent.[45]
  • Breakage of joints (elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and wrists), fingers, spine and neck, for the same reason. The most common breakages are the shoulder and the pelvis.
  • Soft tissue (skin and muscle) damage (road rash) as the body slides across the surface. This can be prevented entirely with the proper use of motorcycle-specific protective apparel such as a leather jacket or reinforced denim and textile pants.
  • There is also a condition known as biker's arm, where the nerves in the upper arm are damaged during the fall, causing a permanent paralysis of arm movement.
  • Facial disfigurement, if in the absence of a full-face helmet, the unprotected face slides across the ground or smashes into an object. Thirty-five percent of all crashes show major impact on the chin-bar area.[46]

The Hurt Report also commented on injuries after an accident stating that the likelihood of injury is extremely high in these motorcycle accidents - 98% of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.[47]

Personal protective equipment

Main article: Motorcycle personal protective equipment Mercury insurance car rentals A motorcyclist wearing helmet, gloves, boots, and armored, reflective textile jacket and pants.

To address the risks of motorcycling, before and after a fall, motorcyclists use personal protective equipment (PPE, or more commonly "motorcycle gear"). Many developed countries now require certain articles of PPE, and manufacturers and governments recommend its extensive use.

Functions of PPE

  • Improved visibility — Although for decades the popular image of the motorcycle rider has been of someone clad head-to-toe in black leather, in the light of the Hurt Report findings, and the day-to-day experiences of motorcyclists themselves, many riders choose higher-visibility gear. Bright colors and retroreflective strips are common on quality equipment.
  • Abrasion resistance — Thick, tough leather provides the most abrasion resistance in a crash, but fabrics such as Cordura, Kevlar and ballistic nylon provide significant protection too. In addition, fabrics are generally cheaper, easier to maintain, waterproof, and more comfortable in hot weather. Thick leather, which affords the most abrasion resistance, can be uncomfortable in temperatures exceeding 29 °C (85 °F) and above 38 °C (100 °F) may cause heat stress & loss of control with insufficient fluid replacement. Some PPE may be constructed of fabrics made into a 'mesh' that provides cooling and a stable surface for the attachment of padding (see below).
  • Impact protection — Quality jackets and pants provide significant extra padding in the vulnerable joint regions described above. This can take the form of simple foam padding, or dual-density foam that stiffens when compressed, sometimes with plastic or carbon fiber outer-shells that distribute the impact across the pad. Integrated pieces can be found in some jackets. Another way to reduce impact is by wearing airbag protection.
  • Weather protection — One important aspect of PPE not mentioned above is protection from the elements. Extreme weather can make a long ride unbearable or dangerous. PPE provides protection from wind, rain and cold.

Items of PPE

Scotiabank car insurance reviews A full-face helmet credited for saving its user. Car insurance determining fault in traffic accidents Half helmets or "skid lids" meet minimum legal requirements in the USA.
  • Helmet — A full-face helmet provides the most protection. Thirty-five percent of all crashes show major impact on the chin-bar area.[46] However, 3/4- and 1/2-helmets also are available. Some motorcycle training sites[which?] have banned the use of half-helmets because of avoidable injuries sustained by riders wearing them.
  • Gloves — Commonly made of leather, cordura, or Kevlar, or some combination. Some include carbon fiber knuckle protection or other forms of rigid padding. Gloves designed specifically for motorcycle use have slightly curved fingers and the seams are on the outer surfaces to allow the motorcyclist to maintain his grip and control on the handlebars and clutch/brake levers. Some gloves also provide protection to the wrist.
  • Jackets — Generally made from leather, ballistic nylon, cordura, Kevlar or other synthetics. Most jackets include special padding on elbows, spine and shoulders. Competition-approved hard armor is superior to soft padding. Competition-approved back and chest protectors can be worn underneath jackets. Inflatable airbag jackets can offer an additional airbag for neck support.
  • Pants — Made of the same material as jackets, usually including special protection for the knees and hips.
  • Boots — Especially those for sport riding, include reinforcement and plastic caps on the ankles, and toe area. Boots designed for cruiser-style riders often have steel-reinforced toes (however this reduces sensitivity of the foot when changing gear). Boots should always have a rubber sole (as opposed to leather or other less flexible materials). Despite their toughness and protection, most boots are very lightweight. Some even include titanium plating.
  • Goggles or helmet visor — Eye protection is of utmost importance - an insect or a kicked-up pebble in the eye at speed has enough momentum to cause significant damage. Such an event could easily cause the rider to lose control and crash. Besides this danger, squinting into the wind is unpleasant at best and watering eyes are quite distracting.
  • Earplugs — Most riders experience substantial wind noise at speeds above 64 to 80 km/h (40 to 50 mph). Earplugs help protect against hearing damage, and reduce fatigue during long rides.
  • Vests — Made with high-visibility colors and retroreflective materials, vests can be worn over jackets to increase the chance of being seen and allow drivers to better judge the speed and position of riders, especially in adverse conditions of dark and wet.
  • Airbags – worn in jackets and vests can offer riders a neck brace and spine protection, as well as abdomen, chest, ribs, and hip/pelvic protection.
  • Other PPE — Dirt bike riders wear a range of plastic armor to protect against injury from falling and hitting other riders and bikes, running into track barriers, and being hit by flying debris kicked up by the tires of other riders' bikes. This type of armor typically covers the back, chest, and sometimes the extremities.

It is increasingly common for gloves, jackets, pants, and boots to be outfitted with hard plastics on probable contact areas in an effort to ensure that when a motorcyclist contacts the ground, his clothing will permit him to slide relatively easily as opposed to "crumpling", risking injury to body parts being stressed in abnormal directions.

Riders sometimes use the acronyms MOTGMOTT and ATGATT, which stand for "Most Of The Gear Most Of The Time" and "All The Gear All The Time", when describing their personal gear preferences.[48][49]


Short terms car insurance uk california Novice motorcyclists being trained in Gilbert, Arizona Main article: Motorcycle training

In many developed countries riders are now either required or encouraged to attend safety classes in order to obtain a separate motorcycle driving license.

Training can help to bridge the gap between a novice and experienced rider as well as improving the skills of a more experienced rider. Skills training would seem to be the answer to reducing the KSI ("killed or seriously injured") rate among motorcycle riders. However, research shows that some who undergo advanced skills training are more likely to be at a higher risk while using the roads (Rutter & Quine, 1996).[50] This risk compensation effect was commented on in the findings of the evaluation of the “Bikesafe Scotland” scheme, where a number of those who undertook training said they rode faster in non-built-up areas after the course (Ormston et al., 2003).[51] This is not to say that training in not important, but that more advanced training should be tempered with psychological training (Broughton 2005).[52]

A literature review found that driver and rider education had little benefit, due to the failure of most programs to account for the age and inexperience of the highest risk drivers. After reviewing motorcycle rider education/training programs in three countries, Dan Mayhew of Canada's Traffic Injury Research Foundation said, "no compelling evidence that rider training is associated with reductions in collisions."[53]

David L. Hough has cited risk comparisons in the Hurt Report showing riders who did not receive professional or organized training, such as those who were self-taught or learned to ride from friends and family, to be two to three times higher than those who had rider training.[54] Hough also said that the increase in motorcycle fatalities in the US after the year 2000 coincides with a relaxation of national rider training requirements.[54]

Car insurance property damage recommended daily sodium A rider receives individual coaching from an MSF instructor in Madison, Wisconsin.

In the United States, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) provides a standardized curriculum to the states that, in turn, provide low-cost safety training for new and current riders. Two states, Oregon and Idaho, eschew MSF's curriculum in favor of their own. With over 1,500 locations in USA, and over 120,000 annual students, MSF trains about 3% of the owners of 4,000,000 new motorcycles sold for highway use.[55] Motorcycle injuries and fatalities among U.S. military personnel have continually risen since the early 2000s.[56] Among other United States Department of Defense-initiated programs, the Air National Guard seeks to understand why national safety programs haven't sufficiently reduced mishaps, and how those programs might be modified to cause productive behavioral change.

In the United Kingdom, for example, organizations such as the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) offer advanced motorcycle rider training with the aim of reducing accident rates. There is often an added incentive to riders in the form of reduced insurance premiums.

In Canada, the Canada Safety Council (CSC), a non-profit organization, provides motorcycle safety training courses for beginner and novice riders through its Gearing Up training program. Again, as in the USA and UK, the focus is on improved rider skills to reduce accident rates. Insurance premiums may be reduced upon successful completion as this program is recognised and supported nationally by the Motorcycle and Moped Industry Council (MMIC).


Main article: Countersteering

Countersteering is used by motorcyclists to initiate a turn toward a given direction by momentarily steering counter to the desired direction ("steer left to turn right").[57]

The small amount of initial countersteering input required to get the bike to lean, which is only about 0.5 seconds in average curves, makes it difficult to perceive for many. Gentle turns might require only 0.125 seconds, while sharp turns might require a whole second of countersteering at corner entry.[58]

According to the Hurt Report, most motorcycle riders in the USA would over-brake and skid the rear wheel and under-brake the front when trying to avoid a collision. The ability to countersteer and swerve was essentially absent in many riders.[47]

Motorcycle equipment

On most new motorcycles, the headlights turn on as soon as the bike is started as a legal requirement. Some bikes have modulated headlights. This is accomplished using headlight modulators. This is still a subjective issue in some European countries. The argument is that the forced use of the headlight will lose all safety benefits if cars are also required to have their lights "hardwired." There is also an argument that the forced use of the headlight is seen as "aggressive" by other road users and so reinforces negative stereotypes of bike riders held by some. Modulators are legal in the US and Canada.[59] It has been suggested that bright yellow front turn signals would be more practical and more effective than headlights in the daytime.[60]

Crash bars (also called "safety bars," or "roll bars") are common equipment on cruiser-type bikes. They are designed to protect a rider's legs (and the motor) from injury in a rollover and in a glancing contact with other vehicles. The Hurt Report concluded that crash bars are not an effective injury countermeasure; the reduction of injury to the ankle-foot is balanced by increase of injury to the thigh-upper leg, knee, and lower leg.[47]

Anti-lock braking system on a motorcycle was introduced by BMW in 1988 and was soon adapted by other brands. With ABS brakes, stopping the motorcycle is both easier and safer, allowing for a shorter stop range and reduced risk of skidding. The British IAM with support from the FIA has proposed that from 2015, ABS should be mandatory on all new motorcycles with a displacement larger than 125cc sold in the EU.[61]

Airbag devices

Fuel tank mounted airbags as well as wearable jacket airbag devices have been designed to moderate the risks involved with motorcycles.

The first motorcycle crash tests with an airbag were performed in 1973[62] and proved that airbag systems could be advantageous to a rider. These tests were followed up by tests in the 1990s that showed airbag devices could not fully restrain a rider when traveling more than 30 mph (48 km/h), but still reduced a rider's velocity and his or her trajectory. Honda has recently developed a fuel tank mounted airbag for the Goldwing model that takes just 0.15 seconds to deploy. Crash sensors in the front wheel send data to the airbag ECU (electronic control unit) which in turn activates the airbag inflator. The airbag then takes the force of the rider.

Fuel tank mounted airbags can aid in saving many lives. It has been proven with crash test dummies that this type of airbag technology is very beneficial during a frontal collision. This is important because statistically, 62% of motorcycle accidents in the U.S. are frontal collisions. Additional tests were performed to show that when a motorcycle rider impacts a car during a frontal collision, the fuel tank mounted airbag prevents the person from traveling into the vehicle. This significantly reduced the head trauma by 83% that otherwise would have occurred according to the data from the crash test dummy. A rider would have lived with an airbag, whereas the fatality rate would be higher without the airbag. It has also been pointed out that this can only work if the accident is at low speed and follows the same dynamics as a car accident.

The second airbag device which is now available is an inflatable airbag jacket. A rider can wear an airbag jacket that is tethered to the motorcycle, so if he or she is thrown from the bike during a collision, the jacket will automatically inflate for a 20 second period to provide a cushion for the rider. This will lessen the upper body and internal injuries to a rider that may often be fatal. Mugen Denko pioneered the development of airbag jackets in 1995 and conducted many tests,[63] although the idea of an airbag jacket / vest was invented by Tamás Straub who applied for Hungarian patent in 1976.[64]

See also

  • Bicycle safety
  • Congressional Motorcycle Safety Caucus (USA)
  • Driver visibility
  • Highsider
  • Lane splitting
  • List of motorcycle deaths in U.S. by year
  • Lowsider


  1. ^ a b NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis (2007), NHTSA: Motorcycles Traffic Safety Fact Sheet (DOT-HS-810-990) (PDF), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, retrieved 2011-04-18 
  2. ^ Clarke, David D.; Ward, Pat; Bartle, Craig; Truman, Wendy (November 2004). "In-Depth Study of Motorcycle Accidents" (Adobe PDF). Department for Transport, UK. 
  3. ^ "Motorcyclists - Crashes". Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATS). 
  4. ^ "Motorcycle Helmets Fact Sheet". Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  5. ^ United States Department of Transportation, Fatality Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia 1994-2005 [1]
  6. ^ "Motorcycle Safety". NHTSA. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  7. ^ Hough, David L. (2000). Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (2nd ed.). USA: BowTie Press. p. 20. ISBN 9781889540535. 
  8. ^ Carpenter, Susan (2009-03-01). "U.S. motorcycle crash study stalls: MAIDS 2.0 may have to suffice". Los Angeles Times Blogs. Archived from the original on May 4, 2009. The long-awaited follow-up to the 1981 Hurt Study is short at least $2 million, and it's unclear whether that funding will come through any time soon. Or ever. 
  9. ^ H.H. Hurt, Jr., Traffic Safety Center, University of Southern California: Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures Volume I: Technical Report
  10. ^ "Main findings of the MAIDS report on accident characteristics". Maids – In-Depth Investigation of Motorcycle Accidents. The Association of European Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM). 2009. 
  11. ^ David L. Hough (2013), The Good Rider, Seattle: Mixed Media, ISBN 0-9747420-3-1 
  12. ^ Susan Wells; et al. (April 10, 2004). "Motorcycle rider conspicuity and crash related injury: case-control study". BMJ. Retrieved 2007-06-26.  Abstract, Quick summary
  13. ^ "Table 5.5: Predominating PTW colour". MAIDS (Motorcycle Accidents In Depth Study) Final Report 2.0. ACEM, the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers. April 2009. p. 47. 
  14. ^ "MAIDS (Motorcycle Accidents In Depth Study) Final Report 2.0". ACEM, the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers. April 2009: 100. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Packer, Jeremy (2008), "Motorcycle Madness; The Insane, Profane, and Newly Tame", Mobility without mayhem: safety, cars, and citizenship, Duke University Press, pp. 127–159, ISBN 0-8223-3963-3 
  16. ^ Rayner, Claire (20 June 1997), "Sex and the Volvo", New Statesman, London, vol. 10 no. 458, p. 45 
  17. ^ Millward, David (21 February 2008), "Ban motorcycles, safety expert says", The Daily Telegraph 
  18. ^ Constantine, Peggy (16 July 1974), "Doctors Call Motorcycles Disaster Machines Geared to Kill", Sarasota Herald-Tribune, p. 4B 
  19. ^ "TWIST-Motorcycle lifestyle; The truth about safety, learning to ride, and making motorcycles part of your life.", Cycle World, April 2010, retrieved 2011-05-28 
  20. ^ Edwards, David (November 2001), "After the fall", Cycle World: 14 
  21. ^ Cameron, Kevin (June 1996), "New riders", Cycle World: 16 
  22. ^ Sullivan, Julie (September 28, 2010), "Older motorcyclists riding, dying on Oregon roadways; new state rules could help", The Oregonian 
  23. ^ Compare: Valorisation, from Marxist theory.
  24. ^ Moon, Wendy (Spring 2011), "Riding Half-Naked (Or The Conversion of a Safety Nazi)", International Journal of Motorcycle Studies, 7 (1), retrieved 2011-05-28 
  25. ^ a b Thompson, Hunter S. (1966), Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, New York: Ballantine Books, Random House, pp. 78, 262, ISBN 0-345-41008-4 1996 reprint  |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  26. ^ Thompson, Hunter S. (March 1995), "Song of the Sausage Creature", Cycle World, ISSN 0011-4286 
  27. ^ National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, November 2000 
  28. ^ a b Spiegel, Bernt (2009), The Upper Half of the Motorcycle: On the Unity of Rider and Machine, Meredith Hassall, translator, Whitehorse Press, ISBN 978-1-884313-75-2 Translated by Meredith Hassall from German: Die obere Hälfte des Motorrads vom Gebrauch der Werkzeuge als künstliche Organe (1999) ISBN 978-3-613-01922-5 
  29. ^ Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels on Wikiquote
  30. ^ a b Condon, Ken (June 2011), "Proficient Motorcycling: Limits", Motorcycle Consumer News, Irvine, California: Aviation News Corp, vol. 42 no. 6, pp. 38–40, ISSN 1073-9408 
  31. ^ Loi Code de la route - Article R311-1 du 1 juin 2001 (in French)
  32. ^ Cope, Ben (22 November 2012), French 100bhp limit to be revoked, Visordown, retrieved 13 May 2016 
  33. ^ a b "Motorcyklisternas protester ger resultat" (in Swedish). Sveriges MotorCyklister. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  34. ^ SMC Visionen 2.0 (Adobe PDF) (in Swedish), Sveriges MotorCyklister, Sweden, September 2004 
  35. ^ Gabler, Hampton Clay, The risk of fatality in motorcycle crashes with roadside barriers (Adobe PDF), Virginia Tech Wake Forest University, retrieved 13 May 2016 
  36. ^ Nordqvist, Maria; Fredriksson, Göran; Wenäll, Jan, Definition of a safe barrier for motorcyclists (Adobe PDF), European Union Road Federation, p. 1 
  37. ^ Motorcycle-Guardrail Crashes: How can the risk of severe injury and fatality be reduced?, World Highways, October 2008 
  38. ^ a b Road Maintenance, Motorcycle council of NSW Inc. 
  39. ^ a b Roadway Characteristics, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
  40. ^ a b Hinchliffe, Mark (2 November 2015), Road maintenance ‘critical for riders’, Motorbike Writer 
  41. ^ Thomas Frank, USA Today, "Study: 'Supersport' cycles step up risk," September 10, 2007 [2]
  42. ^ a b c d e "Conclusions Misleading In New IIHS Report, AMA Says". American Motorcyclist Association. 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2009-03-10. 
  43. ^ "Ability Magazine: Motorcycle Vets - Speeding Into the Danger Zone" (2008)". Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  44. ^ Jack Lewis (2010). "What Kills Us: Calling in the Nine-Line". Coming and Going on Bikes: Essaying the Motorcycle. Litsam Inc. (Kindle edition). ASIN B0038YWRDI. 
  45. ^ Wald, Matthew (12 September 2007). "Rise in Motorcycle Deaths Renews Helmet Law Debate". The New York Times. 
  46. ^ a b Otte, Dietmar. "COST 327 Motorcycle Safety Helmets". COST Transport Secretariat. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  47. ^ a b c Dr. Hugh H. Hurt, PhD. (January 1981 (Final Report)). "Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, Volume 1: Technical Report, Hurt, H.H., Ouellet, J.V. and Thom, D.R., Traffic Safety Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90007, Contract No. DOT HS-5-01160" (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  48. ^ Hanson, Ralph (2006-06-19). "Motorcycles are just one of life's risks: ; Still, ATGATT is undoubtedly the best policy". Charleston Daily Mail. ProQuest. p. 4A. Retrieved June 6, 2009. ATGATT? That's All The Gear, All The Time - helmet, jacket, gloves and boots. And I could be badly injured riding my motorcycle tomorrow 
  49. ^ Keith, Condon (August 2009). "Gearing Up". Motorcycle Consumer News. Bowtie News. p. 41. Riders "in the know" wear "All The Gear, All The Time" (ATGATT).  |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  50. ^ Rutter, D. R. & L. Quine (1996) Age and experience in motorcycling safety. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 28(1): 15-21
  51. ^ Ormston, R., A. Dudleston, S. Pearson & S. Stradling. (2003) Evaluation of Bikesafe Scotland, Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Social Research
  52. ^ Broughton, P.S. (2005) Designing PTW training to match rider goals in Driver Behaviour and Training Vol II edited by L. Dorn.
  53. ^ Mayhew1, DR; Simpson, HM, "The safety value of driver education an training", Injury Prevention, BMJ Publishing Group 
  54. ^ a b Hough, David L. (2010), Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well, i5 Publishing, p. 24, ISBN 9781935484677 
  55. ^ Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Safe Cycling, Summer 1998
  56. ^ Carmen L. Gleason, DoD campaign to reduce negative motorcycle trend, American Forces Press Service, archived from the original on 2011-06-04 
  57. ^ Sheldon Brown. "Countersteering". Retrieved 2012-11-09. "Countersteering" refers to the momentary motion of the handlebars in the opposite direction of the desired turn. 
  58. ^ National Public Services Research Institute, "Photographic Analysis of Motorcycle Operator Control Responses", 1976 [3]
  59. ^ "Motorcycle Headlight Modulator Regulations". webBikeWorld. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  60. ^ "Daytime running lights for motorcycles" (PDF). 
  61. ^ "IAM want compulsory ABS by 2015". 
  62. ^ EU - Road safety - Motorcycles
  63. ^ Thrush, Denny T. (May 2002). "Coming Soon?". American Motorcyclist. 56 (5). American Motorcyclist Assoc. p. 30. ISSN 0277-9358. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  64. ^ "Documents of the invention". Retrieved 26 May 2010. 

Further reading

  • Bayly, M., Regan, M., & Hosking, S. (2006). Intelligent transport systems and motorcycle safety. [Report No. 260]. Melbourne, Australia: Monash University, Accident Research Centre.
  • Berg, F. A., & Rucker, P. (2002). Airbag prototype for a mid-sized touring motorcycle. International Research Council on Biomechanics of Injury Conference. Stuttgart, Germany: DEKRA Automobil.
  • Blanchard, H. T., & Tabloski, P. A. (2006). Motorcycle safety: Educating riders at the teachable moment. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 32(4), 330-332.
  • Broughton, P.S. and Walker, L. (2009), Motorcycling and Leisure: Understanding the Recreational PTW Rider: Ashgate Publishing: Aldershot.
  • Elliott, M. A., Baughan, C. J., Broughton, J., Chinn, B., Grayson, G. B., Knowles, J., et al. (2003). Motorcycle safety: A scoping study. [Report No. TRL581]. Transport Research Laboratory.
  • Huang, B., & Preston, J. (2004). A literature review on motorcycle collisions: Final report. Oxford University, Transport Studies Unit.
  • Pierce, A. (2002). The personal airbag. Tech Directions, 61(7), 10.
  • US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (October 2001). "Fatal Single Vehicle Motorcycle Crashes". 
  • "Casualty rates: by road user type and severity: 1994 to 2004" (PDF). Department of Transport, UK. 
  • "In-Depth Study of Motorcycle Accidents". Department of Transport, UK. November 2004. 

External links

  • US Dept of Transportation - Statistics on Motorcycle Fatalities
  • Daytime running lights for motorcycles Proceedings of 19th Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles, Washington 2005
  • MAIDS Motorcycle Accident Study: Lessons From 921 Crashes
  • Dant, Alastair; Fairfield, Hannah (March 31, 2014), "Fewer Helmets, More Deaths", New York Times 
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Ways to lower geico car insurance


Click back to Honest John’s Motoring Agony Column 27-01-2017 Part 1


Name game 

I wondered how different car manufacturers get away with using the same names: Renault Caravelle/Volkswagen Caravelle; Jowett Javelin/AMC Javelin; Triumph Toledo/SEAT Toledo.

RO, via email

Car manufacturers copyright long lists of names for cars that they may or may not use in the future. Renault must have ditched Caravelle after the Dauphine derived model. Triumph must have stopped paying to keep 'Toledo' and anyway it's more logical for SEAT to have it. Jowett has been defunct for 60 years and AMC is now as well. Sometimes names are revived. For example, Ford used Cougar for a Mercury model on the 1960s and 1970s, then for a Ford coupe in the 1990s, and now uses Kuga for its medium SUV.


Cheap car insurance no deposit uk 

Raised expectations

For over 23 years I have driven 4 separate BMW 3-Series cars as my main vehicle. Only one of them was a diesel. I love the concept and the driving experience. But my wife and I will be 77 this year and we are finding BMW cars increasingly difficult to get in and out of because of the low seats. We both need to change to a vehicle with higher seats and taller doors. I like your reviews of the Skoda Yeti. Skoda must be doing something right if so many taxi owners and police forces use them. I would probably go for the 1.8 petrol engine rather than a perhaps overworked 1.2 since we don't do too many miles and the fuel consumption isn't that critical. A pity that VW doesn't make a ‘body-copy’ like they do with the Up and Citigo. I need a more comfortable ride. BMWs used to be more comfortable before they fitted run-flat tyres with their rigid walls. I have looked at BMW X1s and X3s but the rigid tyres are there again and there don't seem to be any petrol versions available. Doesn't have to be a Skoda.  Almost any make will do. What is there, around 1-3 years old, petrol, with easy access and 4 good seats that are higher from the ground than BMW? I really need Cruise Control but can do without SatNav because my TomTom unit is better than any built-in GPS that I've seen. Budget can be £12,000 to £15,000.

RH, via email

The best Yeti was always the 1.8TSI 4x4. Drives and handles better than a Golf GTI. You'll easily get a used one within budget: /road-tests/skoda/skoda-yeti-18tsi-160-2009-road-test/ The Yeti in its present form is near end of life and actually Skoda makes the SEAT Ateca for Skoda in the Czech Republic. If you had a bit more money, one of those with the 1.4TSI 150 engine might suit you. Alternatively, the best riding, best handling SUV is the new Toyota C-HR: /road-tests/toyota/toyota-c-hr-2016-road-test/ but that is definitely over budget.


Pain relief

My arthritic daughter is looking to replace her Renault Clio. Which automatic would you recommend, Toyoto Aygo, Citroen C1 or Peugeot 107? 

MAO, via email 

None of these because they are all automated manuals, not automatics. If she wants a small car with a proper automatic transmission, then a Suzuki Splash/Vauxhall Agila (went out of production 2 years ago), or a new Hyundai i10 or KIA Picanto auto.


Bc insurance act regulations for car 

Indy car

I was looking at this car..http://www.bob-gerard.co.uk/used-cars/honda-jazz-1-3-i-vtec-se-cvt-5dr-startstop-great-glen-201608036455568 It is at Bob Gerards in Great Glen, only a few miles from me. I have seen it. The number plates are just for show, it is apparently, completely unregistered and brand new. I would like to ask you please, if it is an import direct from Japan and brand new, would that give me any problems with insurance, warranty etc? Also, it is a CVT automatic, I have driven automatics in the past, but, at age 64, should I change from a manual to an auto? Only thing that bothers me are the amount of accidents people have because they have put their foot on the wrong pedal. I nearly got run over by one who did just that, a few years ago. It is a CVT, so would that be reliable. It looks a good price. I have a Honda Jazz 1.4 EX that I bought Sept 2010 and it cost me £14,000 then. So, I would probably trade in my Honda Jazz that has only done 33,000 mile. (I have another vehicle as well: a 1998 VW Transporter 2.5TDI.) I suppose, I wouldn’t get a wonderful trade in as this garage sells quite cheaply. They can only get brand new Honda Jazz’s in automatic guise.   Should I do it or just keep my old Jazz? My main reason for thinking of changing now is that the VED on the new Jazz is £20 or £30, I believe, which of course, will not be available after April 1st this year when everything will be at least £140. I do a lot of short journeys so do not want a diesel. My Transporter is OK as a diesel as it is old enough to have never had a DPF.

RO, via email

Bob Gerard has a good reputation and at £13,000 the car is cheap. It's on 15-inch wheels that are better than 16-inch wheels for ride comfort and the photos show it has the very necessary paddle shifts. You still need to check what sort of warranty you will get, and what sort of penalty your insurer will impose. There's no problem driving an auto. Two pedals: two feet: no confusion. By left foot braking you always retain total control and can stop on a sixpence at low speeds.


Out of line 

Last week, following an annual service of my 18-month old E Class Mercedes at Robinsons in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, it was identified that I had unusually severe wear on the inner section of the front outside wheel tyre where canvas was exposed. The rest of the front tyre width had tread depth of around 3mm. It was recommended that I replace the tyre urgently and also have a four-wheel alignment check completed. I preferred to use my own local tyre supplier and subsequently arranged for the work to be completed the following day. The alignment check cost me about £100 and clearly identified an issue with the camber on the OS front wheel, however, I was informed by the technician that he was not able to adjust the camber as Mercedes had fitted straight bolts to the suspension points. Needless to say I thought he was joking as this was the first time in the last 45 years I have purchased a car (old or new) with suspension that could not be adjusted (camber and toe-in, and this was the most expensive car yet. It prompted a rather interesting conversation. Clearly, given the state of Britain’s by-roads, it is essential that cars are fitted with suitable suspension adjustment and I can only think  that this is a dreadful oversight? I complained to Robinsons who have kindly agreed to finance the replacement adjustable bolts (again about £100) which will now have to be retrofitted, but clearly this is an issue that should be dealt with and financed by the manufacturer. I have tried to find an email address at MB design and perhaps not surprisingly have failed to do so. This is clearly a question I now need to ask in future when replacing the vehicle and which may well influence my decision but can you advise me as to whether this is now common practice among manufacturers/suppliers.

PF, Wortham, Suffolk

That's very interesting. Little point in trying to contact MB. This news item and the thread beneath shows you their attitude to a terrible problem with RHD C43 AMGs and GLCs:  /news/miscellaneous/2017-01/mercedes-benz-refuses-to-fix-crabbing-problem/ The only vehicles I've ever see undergo a full four wheel alignment as the Mitsubishi L200 Triton as the end of the production line in Thailand (included full axle articulation) and the special SEAT Leon and Ibiza Cupra Rs at a special facility at Martorell. Hardly any cars are checked at the end of the line, never mind during the PDI. (I've had two cars delivered to me on storage pressure tyres at 40PSI plus.)


Car insurance credit checks 

Cover story

My son is storing his Mazda sports car on my driveway for the next 3 months. I would like to get a car cover to protect it but am concerned that condensation might collect underneath the cover and cause damp and corrosion . There are numerous types on the Internet. Can you recommend a suitable make? Also advise if I should put anything between the body and the cover.

DS, via email

The words to look for are 'Breathable Car Cover'. They are usually lined with fleecy type stuff. I can't recommend my DuPont cover because it's no longer made. You can help by removing the cover on warmer, dry days and chamois leathering off any collected condensation. Crucial, however, to tie it down with a length of clothes line (as I have learned to my cost). Car covers collect even the slightest breeze, like a sail, and are highly prone to blowing off and down the street.


Negotiated settlement

My wife wishes to buy a Mercedes GLA petrol 2.0 litre with satnav and heated seats. List price is just over £29k.The Mercedes dealer has told her that they have stopped production as the facelifted model is due any time. There are apparently only two unregistered new A Class on the Mercedes national list. He offered a 10% discount without asking. Do you think that we should negotiate a higher discount as these cars are the last in the line?

DT, via email 

Last of the pre-facelift, not last of the line. There are some big discounts at the moment for cars in UK stocks. Another reader got 20% off a pre 2017 facelift Golf VII GTI. So you might be able to push for a little more. (DT’s wife raised the stakes and got 15% off.)


Drunk driver hit parked car insurance 

Walk in cars

I am disabled and need a car soon with a very adjustable driving position. I would be happy buying an older car and am likely to be doing low weekly mileage now. I don’t care about fuel consumption; only comfort.

MB, via email

Check the small and tall Suzuki Splash and Vauxhall Agila first. This found some: /used-prices/Suzuki/Splash/2013/?q=1.2+Automatic/


Touch, feely

I have a 2015 Lexus IS300h fitted with 225/45 R17 Bridgestone Turanza tyres as standard. Very noisy. Now running with Michelin CrossClimate on 16-inch wheels for winter. Noise better but car feels unstable at speed. What about the new Conti PremiumContact 6 on 17-inch wheels?

AL, via email

Your comment that the car feels unstable at speed is peculiar. First, check that the Cross Climates are all on the right way round (they are directional tyres). If they are, try reducing the pressures. I ran a Honda HR-V on them for 10 months and 10,000 miles at cold pressures of 31PSI all round and they were excellent. Quiet, soft riding and giving far better steering feel, which a Lexus tends to need.


European road trip car insurance 

Non stop

The automatic Stop/Start on my 18-month old KIA Picanto 2 Ecodynamic has not worked correctly from new. The car has been back to the Dealer several times who say that they cannot find a problem. They do some "boosting" of the battery and the system works for two or three days before failing once again. This car is used in an identical pattern as was the previous Picanto which performed without problem for three years. Having been assured that the battery is perfect and that no drain can be found my belief is that the Alternator is not functioning fully. The Dealer disputes this and KIA Technical Department are of no help. Any thoughts?

AJF, via email

You're probably not doing enough mileage for the battery to charge sufficiently. The newer car will have a different type of alternator that charges on the over-run (rather than all the time) to save fuel. 



Having read your enthusiastic reviews of the Hyundai Kappa 1.25 engine, I test-drove a new i10 SE last year and liked it enough to buy one. It has proven to be an excellent machine and suits its mainly suburban and day trip uses perfectly and so far is proving to be one of the best cars I have owned. So thanks for that. We subsequently replaced my wife’s old car with Suzuki Celerio and I noticed that its 1-litre 3-cylinder engine produced exactly the same power and torque as Hyundai’s 1-litre 3-cylinder, but is significantly more economical, shown by the HJ Real MPG data. 1-litre Hyundai i10: 50mpg; Celerio: 62.8mpg. I know this will include a non-specific number of Celerio Dualjet engined cars but we are bettering this overall figure with a standard engine, measured brim to brim. I was wondering why and, searching for some clues, I found this site that lists car specs from 1945 up to the present. http://www.automobile-catalog.com/ Unfortunately the site is still under construction and has not yet reached manufacturers beginning with the letter S, but I found a graph somewhere else. The Celerio engine had quite a flat torque curve and this feature is very noticeable in town traffic where the engine pulls cleanly over a significantly wider rev range than our Hyundai i10 1.25, which needs to be revved more. Interestingly, although our Hyundai 1.25 pulls much more strongly above 3,000rpm than the Suzuki 1.0, the Suzuki’s wider torque band seems to allow it to pull higher speeds for given revs: 60mph in second and 70mph in 5th at 3,200revs whilst our Hyundai 1.25 needs around 3,500 revs to attain the same speed. If the Hyundai 1-litre engine has a similarly peakier torque even though produced at lower revs than the 1.25,  perhaps this goes some way to explaining why the very similar Suzuki engine, on paper, seems to be 25% more fuel efficient than the 3-cylinder 1-litre Hyundai engine.

CR, via email

What you could do is try Shell V-Power Nitro Plus in the i10. That will give you more torque at low revs so you can change up earlier and save some fuel. The 62.8 from the Celario is outstanding. http://www.automobile-catalog.com/ reads like a labour of love. After all that work I hope they can monetise it.


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Scout’s honour

You advised me recently about the cambelt for my 2007, 175,000 mile Octavia Scout. Now the climate control seems to be playing up.  I am 78 years old, want to continue to drive and have a large Labrador. I should like another Scout but wonder if there is anything comparable and safe that is less expensive. Up until now the Scout has been wonderfully reliable and I like the 4x4.

PT, via email

You've done quite well with that Climate Control. If failed for me when I was driving one of the first Mk II Octavias on the launch. You could get an a/c specialist to have a look, but if you can live with the situation it might not be worth repairing. Quite a few alternatives nowadays. I like the Peugeot 2008 GT 1.2 PureTech 130 6-speed with Grip Control. Will get up an icy slope better than any 4x4 on summer tyres. The Suzuki Vitara 1.4T BoosterJet 4x4 is very good. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I really liked the current VW Golf Alltrack: /road-tests/volkswagen/volkswagen-golf-alltrack-2015/


One owned previously

I am the second owner of a 2012 F11 BMW 520d M Sport Touring auto, with 51k miles and a full main dealer service history. The manufacturers' warranty has expired, can you advise me on the best value extended warranty available with approx. cost, and will it apply if there has been a break since the factory one lapsed please? I cover approx. 20k miles per year, and am aware there is a lot of bad press with timing chains on the N47 engine fitted to my car, so need to ensure that if I was ever affected then I am covered. I had a bad customer experience with BMW on my previous vehicle (an E61) with a premature major mechanical failure, so I am wary that they would offer the best value to me over an alternative for this level of cover? Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated.

BR, via email

The three main warranty providers are Warranty Wise, Warranty Direct and Motoreasy. If there has been a break between manufacturer warranty and the aftermarket warranty you will not be covered for the first 3 months in case you took out the warranty to try to cover a pre-existing fault. You may not be covered for the timing chain anyway because tensioner wear is a known problem and could be treated as wear and tear. I'd be more inclined to look at a BMW warranty from the dealer you bought the car from, if it can still qualify, and make it a specific condition of the warranty that timing chain and tensioner are covered.


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Narrowing it down

I am hoping that you can assist me. At present I own a 2013 Skoda Fabia Estate, which just fits my garage width-wise. I am looking to change it for a used hatchback of similar dimensions or very slightly larger. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

JK, via email

The way to go with that is a Skoda Rapid Spaceback: /road-tests/skoda/skoda-rapid-spaceback-2013-road-test/ Width (excluding mirrors): 1,706mm; Width (including mirrors): 1,940mm.


Yets man

We have had a Skoda Yeti for five and a half years and my husband thinks it’s time to change the car before any major service items need work, such as battery, etc. I like the Yeti because it is not too big, has a higher driving position and I can see all four corners so visibility is good, driving is pleasant and is parking easy. Our access is restricted and many cars are too wide to fit easily. We have looked at numerous alternatives: 2008, Ateca, Vitara, HR-V, Captur, Kadjar, etc. but I they are either too big for our needs or the design seems to reduce visibility out of the rear windows. Would we be stupid to buy another Yeti knowing it will be replaced next year? We have had some really good offers to change from Skoda dealers, so it is tempting.

AT, via email

If that's what you want, up to you. Better petrol than diesel, though, unless you do a huge mileage. The Yeti 1.8 4x4 was always the best Yeti of all, though production of it has been spasmodic. I tested the same Yeti 1.8 4x4 that Jeremy Clarkson put through a destruction test on Top Gear and I guess I had it after him.


Same, but different

I have a 2001 Honda, which is still going strong and has been a great car, they used to be described as  "dull and reliable", but that suits me. However, I am aware that it is getting a bit long in the tooth. The new Civic is huge and I certainly don't want a bigger car.  I like the hatchback and also the VTEC. Any suggestions for a replacement?

SM, via email

The Jazz 1.3iVTEC manual is a bit underpowered and undergeared. The Mk II Jazz 1.4iVTEC was better. Alternatively, look at a KIA cee'd or a Hyundai i30 (or the smaller new model KIA Rio or Hyundai i20).

Click back to Honest John’s Motoring Agony Column 27-01-2017 Part 1


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