App aims to make roads safer for motorcyclists | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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App aims to make roads safer for motorcyclists

A new app will collect data on motorcycle crashes and near misses from around Australia, to give researchers and road safety practitioners insight into the factors putting motorcyclists at risk on our roads.

Research Fellow Dr Jolene Cox from the University of the Sunshine Coast said the MotoSafe app was developed in response to the rising rate of fatalities and hospitalisations of motorcyclists over the past decade.

“In Australia, motorcycle registrations represent five percent of vehicle registrations, but motorcycle road deaths represent twenty percent of total road deaths. And for every death, 35 motorcyclists are hospitalised with injuries,” Dr Cox said.

“Without improving our understanding of motorcyclist incidents, we cannot sufficiently develop interventions.”

Developed by UniSC’s Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems, the MotoSafe app allows motorcyclists to easily log when and where a crash or near miss occurs, and the factors that contributed to the incident – including road infrastructure issues, rider error and driver behaviour.

MotoSafe is a free app designed to document the factors putting motorcyclists at risk on Australian roads.

Lead Investigator Professor Paul Salmon said existing motorcycle crash data is mostly limited to incidents that resulted in serious injuries or fatalities, but fails to capture the more frequent occurrences of less serious injuries and near misses.

“There is a critical need for improved road safety data. With MotoSafe, we are attempting to fill in some of those gaps,” Professor Salmon said.

“We can use the data to identify points – like road design, road rules, rider education and training, and the behaviour of other road users – where intervention is needed.

“This will support decision-making around road safety policy and interventions designed to enhance rider safety.” 

While UniSC researchers capture and collate the data reported to MotoSafe over the course of the next six months, users will receive summary data on all incidents reported to the app in real-time.

This will give them information about the factors that contribute to motorcyclist incidents and an opportunity to change how they interact on the road and with other road users.

After the initial six-month trial period, the app will undergo review and refinement with a view to make it a permanent resource.

“The incident data and analysis will allow us to identify important trends that will be valuable in informing future research and developing interventions and recommendations for policy changes around motorcycle safety,” Dr Cox said.

“By informing those changes, we hope this project can lead to a reduction in motorcycle incidents and resulting road trauma.”

Motosafe is funded by the ACT Road Safety Fund Grants program and is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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