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Motorcyclists are not easily distracted

You can see it on the roads every day: car drivers are more and more distracted by their mobile phones and other gadgets in the car. These distractions can lead to very dangerous situations, because the driver’s attention is not fully focused on the road and other traffic.

Motorcyclists, however, do not allow themselves to be distracted form their riding tasks easily, according to research by the Dutch motorcyclists’ organizations KNMV and MAG Netherlands. They examined the use of communication and navigation systems on motorcycles.

A total of 1,528 motorcyclists participated in the research; 89.86% of them use a communications and/or navigation system on their bike. Of the users of the communication and/or navigation systems, 65.94% says not to be distracted from the riding tasks by the equipment.

Motorcyclists who reported to have been distracted by the equipment at some point, are especially distracted by the navigation device (389 cases, compared to 86 by the phone, and 36 by communication equipment). The good news is that over 95% of the users of the equipment have never been in a (near) accident because of distraction.

The survey found that for motorcyclists that were involved in a (near) accident due to distraction, their riding experience can play a role. Of the 55 riders who have reported a (near) accident, 32 (58.18%) ride less than 10,000 kilometres per year. Of the 28 riders who actually reported an accident due to distraction, 20 (71.43%) ride less than 10,000 kilometres per year.

Of the 28 reported accidents by distraction, 13 were single vehicle accidents, 15 accidents involved another vehicle. In seven cases the motorcyclist suffered (minor) injuries; in 12 cases the motorcycle was damaged.

What is striking, is that young people seem less likely to be distracted by communication and/or navigation systems on their motorcycle: 64.29% of the motorcyclists involved in an accident through distraction, are over 42 years old.

Some figures:

  • 1,528 motorcyclists participated in the study (89.92% male, 10.08% female).
  • 89,00% of motorcyclists are using a navigation system on their motorcycle.
  • 30,76% of motorcyclists are using a mobile phone on their motorcycle.
  • 40,05% of motorcyclists use a communications system with the pillion rider or with fellow motorcyclists.
  • 65,94% of users of communication and/or navigation systems do not become distracted.
  • 00,22% of the phone users have at some point been so distracted that they were involved in a (near) accident (03,21% for users of navigation systems).

Photograph by Wim Taal