At the Capitol building I watched from the bleachers above the Legislative body as a proposed Helmet Law amendment was defeated once again. I wondered how lawmakers decide laws pertaining to motorcycle riding and riders without being a rider themselves. How do motorcycle training instructors know what skills to teach new and old riders riding on today’s streets? My answer was "The Hurt Study." Although somewhat dated when compared to today’s motorcycle accident data, the Hurt Study still stands tall. The next time a Rider asks why training and slow speed practice is so important my answer will be backed by facts that could save their life.
#15. The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph.
#22. The motorcycle riders involved in accidents are essentially without training; 92% were self-taught or learned from family or friends. Motorcycle rider training experience reduces accident involvement and is known to reduce injuries in the event of accidents.
#26. Motorcycle riders in 75% of these accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems. Most riders would over-brake and skid the rear wheel, and under-brake the front wheel greatly reducing collision avoidance deceleration. The ability to countersteer and swerve was essentially absent.
*Harry H Hurt and friends from USC completed the Hurt study in 1981 in the LA area involving 900 on-site motorcycle crash investigations and the review of 3600 motorcycle accident reports.
**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
John 'Hammer' Hanzlik
ALR Road Captain, Omaha Chapter 1

Read more in Rider Safety Corner