This monograph compares Australias motorcycle safety record with that of other OECD nations over the decade 1987 to 1997 using ATSB road fatality data and the International Road Traffic Accident Database. Motorcyclist fatalities in Australia and the OECD, 1997
Comparisons of motorcycle safety between nations need to take into account the relative size of motorcycle fleets in those nations.
Comparisons here are therefore made in terms of fatalities per 10 000 registered motorcycles.
Table 1 shows that when adjustment is made for differences in motorcycle fleet sizes, motorcycle safety in Australia compares unfavourably with that of the OECD as a whole.
In 1997, Australia had 5.7 motorcyclist fatalities per 10 000 registered motorcycles compared with a median of 4.0 fatalities for the OECD as a whole. The 1997 comparisons are summarised in Figure 1. This shows that Australia ranked sixth worst amongst 23 nations for which data were reported.
Finland had the lowest rate, 1.2 fatalities per 10 000 registered motorcycles. France had the highest rate, 8.9 fatalities per 10 000 registered motorcycles.
Table 1 shows that this is not just a recent phenomenon. In 1987, Australia had 10.2 motorcyclist fatalities per 10 000 registered motorcycles compared with 6.6 fatalities for the OECD as a whole.
This poor result is surprising given Australias overall road safety record. Australias fatality rate for all road users per 10 000 registered motor vehicles in 1997 was 1.5. This rate was well below the OECD median of 2.0 and ranked Australia equal sixth best amongst 23 OECD nations.
It might be conjectured that the relatively poor status of motorcycle road safety in Australia stems from differences in the culture of motorcycle use or differences in the road environment but this remains unclear. As discussed below, there is no strong evidence that it stems from more time spent on the road.
Type: Research and Analysis Report
Sub Type: ATSB Monograph
Topics: Int comparisons, Motorcycle
Publication Date: 01/06/00