Over many years of responding to motorcycle accidents, I have often wondered how much of the cause information and data extracted from scenes is actually made available to the public.
Of course there are general statements & causal factors and accident statistics that are readily available, but do we ever get the specifics of particular motorcycle accidents and how thoroughly are the root causes investigated.
One of the major problems of road collision investigation is that it rarely looks beyond the immediate cause and contributing factors are not given the prominence they may deserve.
What we need to ask is: :What caused the cause?”
In other transport collision investigations there is much more investigation into root causes and this information is generally disseminated through the user groups & industry…such as in aviation, although thankfully other transport modes tend to see much less frequent requirement for investigation and this is probably why they can invest so much more time on each one.
However, within each accident or incident there is undoubtedly a reason and best theory what was the cause or root causes and contributing factors but notably these investigations may offer some guidance how these incidents may be prevented in the future, how training may be modified or how regulations need to change. After each accident or incident, the findings are made available to the industry & regulators and within a short time period there is a process or even a solution to ensure there is a low probability that the same accident will occur due to the same reasons.
If the road transport industry or even the motorcycle wide community had greater information made available from motorcycle accident scenes, be those local, regional & international…then invariably we could provide better illustrations about accident causes…those both physical & psychological. We could invest in more advanced scenario based training models, we could improve public information broadcasts and target safety campaigns…but most importantly we would be able to give riders and drivers more and improved information to assist with increasing prediction performance, hazard recognition, avoidance and evasion techniques.
In essence we could provide riders the tools to be able to evolve at all levels and experiences, improve performances with greater safety and prevent the surprise horizon.
It is said that ‘knowledge is power’ and ‘this phrase is often attributed to Francis Bacon, in his Meditationes Sacrae (1597). Thomas Jefferson used the phrase at least twice:
“this last establishment will probably be within a mile of Charlottesville, and four from Monticello, if the system should be adopted at all by our legislature who meet within a week from this time, my hopes however are kept in check by the ordinary character of our state legislatures, the members of which do not generally possess information enough to percieve the important truths, that knolege is power, that knolege is safety, and that knolege is happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson to George Ticknor, 25 November 1817
“All the states but our own are sensible that knolege is power.”
– Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Cabell, 22 January 1820
Riders need more information to give them the power to make the right decision at the right time…and the ability to be able to review that decision at any point and judge its performance.