80% of motorcycle accidents caused by cars cutting in: study
The most common cause of fatal motorcycle accidents in Thailand is cars cutting in front of traffic, according to a study by the Thailand Accident Research Centre (TARC), Honda and Yamaha.
The “In-depth Accident Investigation in Thailand” studied 1,000 road accidents between 2016 and 2020. It found that motorcycle riders’ perceptual failure is the major cause of accidents, while the majority of victims are young riders.
The study aimed to identify the root cause of motorcycle accidents to seek solutions to the problem.
About 20,000 people die each year on Thai roads, which are among the deadliest in the world. Around three-quarters of those fatalities are people riding two- or three-wheeled vehicles.
Of the 1,000 motorcycle accidents in the study, 53 per cent were caused by motorcyclists, 41 per cent by car drivers, 4 per cent by road and environment, and 2 per cent by other factors.
The research found that 80 per cent of motorcycle accidents were caused by a car cutting into traffic. Most of the motorcycle victims were riding at normal speeds (20-60kph) and not under the influence of alcohol or sleepiness.
More than 40 per cent of those killed suffered severe head injuries. Of this number, over 62 per cent were not wearing a helmet.
From the findings, TARC came up with six recommendations to reduce accidents:
1. Review safety driving courses and focus more on increasing riders and drivers’ perception skills, decision making, and reaction skills to avoid potential accidents.
2. Redesign motorcyclists’ training and licence tests to focus on accident-prediction skills and accurately simulating real-life road conditions.
3. Impose motorcycle speed limit of 80kph and tighten law enforcement on helmetless riding and motorbike modifications that threaten safety.
4. Introduce a road design policy that prioritises safe motorcycle riding, with reduced mixing of motorcycles and cars at U-turns, intersections, entrances and exits, speed reduction on community roads and improved visibility at junctions and intersections.
5. Promote awareness of the need for regular vehicle maintenance and check-ups, especially for safety equipment such as headlights, taillights, braking, and tyres.
6. Establish a national institute for traffic accident research to collect and analyse data from accident investigations to find practical ways of reducing accidents.