Darlene Duncan rides through some training cones at a Vancouver Island motorcycle safety school.

Darlene Duncan rides through some training cones at a Vancouver Island motorcycle safety school.

Throttle Therapy: What you don’t know can kill you

The primary cause of all accidents were determined mostly to be attributed to human error.

History is filled with valuable “growth opportunities,” and we can learn a lot from those who have travelled a road before us. This makes accident-site analysis invaluable.

One of the biggest studies of motorcycle accidents is the European Commission’s MAIDS, or Motorcycle Accident In-Depth Study, which was co-funded by the European Commission. Investigators looked at 923 cases of motorcycle accidents.

The primary cause of all accidents were determined mostly to be attributed to human error. Human error falls into four main categories: perception failure (not seeing), comprehension failure (seeing but not understanding), decision failure (seeing and understanding, but not reacting properly) and reaction failure (seeing and understanding, but not reacting at all).

Vehicle drivers (as opposed to powered-two-wheelers) were found to be at fault in just over 50 per cent of the time. Primary contributing factors to their human errors were, in order of frequency:

  • Perception failure: 36.6 percent
  • Traffic-scan errors: 62.9 per cent
  • Faulty traffic strategies: 40.6 per cent
  • Speed differential: 4.8 per cent

Information derived from motorcycle accidents clearly show us that other vehicles are a detriment to the health of any biker. Bikers need to drive to be seen. This is why it is important that riders learn defensive riding strategies. We cannot control other drivers, but we can control how we ride in their midst. Defensive riding means that you are compensating for other drivers’ stupidity.

But we’re not that perfect either. Riders of powered two-wheelers were at fault a whopping 37.4 per cent of the time — and we tend to be at fault over four times more often than drivers when it comes to speed. Primary contributing factors to our human errors were, in the same order as above:

  • Rider inattention: 10.6 percent
  • Traffic-scan errors: 27.7 per cent
  • Faulty traffic strategies: 32.2 per cent
  • Speed differential:18 per cent

And keep in mind that these numbers precede hand-held communication devices (iPhones, cells, androids and other thingamajigs). We need to manually add this deadly distraction to our mental-alerts systems.

Maybe I’m biased having worked for almost a decade as a motorcycle safety instructor, but I do strongly recommend motorcycle training for all riders, experienced or not. We need to compensate for others, and we need to sharpen up our own emergency responses. Decision failure and reaction failure can be overcome with proper training.

Thinking you know something when you actually don’t can be detrimental to your health. And when flesh meets metal, who’s at fault becomes trivial; it’s the biker who pays. The burden is on us bikers to do everything we can, so that we can continue to play on two wheels.

We have great safety schools on the Island and fantastic instructors. Do yourself a favour, do your research, and smarten up by taking a course.

Britt Santowski has been riding since she was 25, and served as a Chief Instructor with the Vancouver Island Safety Council, where she taught for nine years.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

Alphabet Zoo Early Learning Centre wants to relocate from Langford to 3322 Fulton Rd. in Colwood, but has not been approved for a P-6 zoning by Colwood council. Residents who neighbour the property, have expressed concern to the Goldstream Gazette regarding the potential daycare site. Neighbours Ryan Landa and Selene Winchester said the noise of construction has been disruptive to the area, and the property is not suitable for a daycare. (Photo contributed/Ryan Landa)
Proposed West Shore daycare stirs up controversy amongst neighbours

Neighbouring property owners are concerned about traffic, noise that a daycare would bring to the area

Ravi Jain, Why Not Theatre’s founding artistic director, will present a Zoom lecture as part of the University of Victoria’s Orion fine art series on March 8. (Photo: University of Victoria).
Award-winning directors highlight coming University of Victoria lecture series

The March 8 and 18 Zoom events are part of the Orion fine arts lecture series

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Hannah Ankenmann, who works with k’awat’si Economic Development Corporation, winces as she received her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine administered by a Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Family Health nurse. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Vancouver Island’s small remote towns to get community-wide vaccine clinics

Island Health to take a wholesale approach to immunization, rather than age-based appointments

Most Read