Thailand Accident Research Center


Motorcycle Accident Analysis: Phase 1

Motorcycle Accident Analysis: Phase 1
Sponsor:  Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
Status:  Completed
Project period:  2013

Motorcycle has been a very popular vehicle type used in Thailand.  According to the statistical data from the Department of Land Transport (DLT), there are more than 18 millions registered motorcycles in Thailand or about 60% of all registered vehicles are motorcycles.  During 2002-2011, the number of motorcycles has been rapidly growing as reported by the DLT that the number of new motorcycle registration is more than 1.8 million vehicles per year.  The ratio of population to motorcycle is 4 to 1, which is considered as the third highest rank among ASEAN countries, following Malaysia and Vietnam.

There are many reasons contributing to the popularity of motorcycles such as convenience and agility, capability to access to destination, low amount of fuel used, maintenance cost, and relatively low price of motorcycle itself.  The latter also makes a motorcycle the first choice of vehicle for people with low to medium income or for teenagers.  However, motorcycle riders are at the greatest risk of being injured or killed by the road accidents.

According to the Royal Thai Police, motorcycles are found to be the highest risk group of vehicle types to have accidents.  During 2008 to 2010, the number of motorcycle injuries was about 70-80% of all accidents, and this figure tends to increase each year.  The statistical data from the Ministry of Public Health revealed that during such a period of time, the number of fatalities from motorcycle accidents was as high as 80% of the total fatalities from road injuries in Thailand.  It was believed that the primary causes of fatalities from motorcycle injuries were speed, drunkenness, violation of traffic laws, careless ride, and lack of skill control during turning or lowering speed.

Although motorcycles provide riders with flexibility and allow them to change directions and stop the vehicles or lower the speed quickly, it is well known that comparing to other vehicles, the motorcycles have physical characteristics that are not capable of protecting riders against injuries and fatalities due to road accidents.  This is an important reason why motorcycle riders are at the greatest risk of injuries or fatalities from accidents comparing to those who use other types of vehicles.  When an accident or a crash occurs, a motorcycle rider will be directly exposed to violent impact or collision. 

During the past decades, motorcycle companies and research agencies have tried their best to find the ways and invented innovative equipment to increase motorcycle users’ safety, either in terms of active safety to prevent or reduce the chance of accidents or passive safety to reduce severity of the accident.  At present, some research results are used in many countries whereas some are under the experimental process and require more studies.

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. has operated the business for almost 60 years. While making its hard efforts and dedication to produce high quality motorcycles with modern safety engineering and environmental consideration, Yamaha has been committed to engage in the research and development of motorcycle safety technology for the betterment of vehicle safety improvement to reduce the chance and severities of accidents. The improvement of vehicle safety is one of the key priorities in the research and development policies at Yamaha.  At the moment, Yamaha has focused on the development of motorcycle safety technology such as the recognition improvement of motorcycle riders, the stability and maneuverability improvement, and the protection of riders.  However, the aforementioned technology is being applied to larger size of motorcycles which are mostly used in Europe and North America.  While in Asian region, smaller size of motorcycles is more popular, but the safety equipment is still not widely developed and used.

The objective of this project is to conduct the comprehensive survey of motorcycle-related accidents including the in-depth study of a selection of the most relevant motorcycle accident types based on occurrence and injury level. This in-depth study was conducted on the macro accident database in Thailand. The most important accident types and prominent causes were identified.  After that, the micro accident analysis will be conducted through the accident investigation and reconstruction.