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Comparison of moped, scooter and motorcycle crashes : implications for rider training and education

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Publication Date
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Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive
Keywords
  • 111799 Public Health And Health Services Not Elsewhere Classified
  • 170199 Psychology Not Elsewhere Classified
  • Mopeds
  • Scooters
  • Motorcycles
  • Crashes
  • Rider Training
  • Rider Education
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Abstract

Scooter and moped sales have increased at a faster rate than motorcycle sales over the last decade in countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States. This may be particularly evident in jurisdictions where moped riding is permitted for car license holders and a motorcycle license is not required, such as in Queensland, Australia. Having historically comprised only a small proportion of powered two-wheelers (PTWs) outside of Europe and Asia, the safety of scooters and mopeds has received relatively little focused research attention. However, the recent trends in sales and crash involvement have stimulated greater interest in these PTW types. The current paper examines differences and similarities between scooters (over 50cc), mopeds (up to 50cc) and motorcycles in crash involvement and crash characteristics through analyses of crash and registration data from Queensland, Australia. The main findings include that moped and scooter riders are similar in terms of usage patterns, but the evidence suggests superior skills, greater experience and safer behaviour among scooter riders than moped riders. The requirement in Queensland for scooter riders but not moped riders to hold a motorcycle license, usually obtained through competency-based training and assessment, may help to explain some of this difference. Findings also suggest that scooter riders are safer than motorcycle riders in some respects, despite both being subject to the same licensing requirements which encourage participation in rider training. Safer attitudes and motivations rather than superior skills and knowledge may therefore underlie the differences between scooter and motorcycle riders. In summary, riders of larger scooters exhibit a combination of skills and behavior suggestive of safer riding than both their moped and motorcycle riding counterparts. It is reasonable to expect that mopeds and scooters will remain popular and that their usage may increase further, along with that of motorcycles. This research therefore has important practical implications regarding pathways to improved PTW safety. Future policy and planning should consider options for encouraging moped riders to acquire better riding skills and greater safety awareness, as apparent among scooter riders, including rider training, education and licensing. As is noted in recent literature and reflected in some contemporary rider training programs, motorcycle safety may be improved by addressing rider attitudes more comprehensively in addition to developing skills and knowledge.

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