The traffic accidents, with 2-wheelers like bicycles, motorcycles and mopeds, represent 23% of total road fatalities in EU[1]. Until now there is no clear understanding of the mechanisms of injury of such vehicles[2],[3]. The lack of knowledge and uncertainties of the complex dynamics of 2-wheelers accidents is limiting the advancement of protective equipment for them[4]. This is a reason that most of the efforts for development of protective equipment were focused only on helmets and protective clothing and not on devices that would prevent the riders’ impacts with other vehicles or the environment i.e. for the development of motorcycle airbags rather contradictory results came out for their safety benefit attributed from the authors to the overestimation of neck-injuries from the dummy used in the crash-tests[5].

Further electric 2-wheelers and new types of innovative ultra-light electric vehicles that offer sustainable urban mobility are developed or already introduced in the market with similar concerns for their safety as the traditional 2wheelers. These types of vehicles are expected to increase their fleet due to their advantages in urban mobility, increasing also their proportion in traffic injuries if their safety concerns are not addressed

The goal of this project is to develop deeper understanding of the injury mechanisms of motorcycle accidents and to create a new framework for the assessment of safety of all 2wheelers. This project will be realized with focus on motorcycles but the methodology, and tools developed will be applicable to all other 2wheelers. More specifically the main objectives of the project are: (a) to investigate the control behaviour of motorcycle riders, (b) better understanding of the injury mechanisms of motorcycle accidents through simulation, (c) the creation of a simulation platform and database development tools for the cost benefit estimation of 2-wheelers safety (d) the transfer of knowledge between the participating institutes, the vehicle and protective device developers, and the national traffic safety stakeholders.

The research topic is highly multi-disciplinary the hub of the project is the field of biomechanics and it further encompasses other engineering fields as vehicle dynamics, computational mechanics, electronics, data analysis, but also medicine, accident reconstruction and statistics.


The major expected results of this project are:

(a) an ambulatory motion capture system,

(b) new knowledge on motorcyclist’s kinematics, pre-crash manoeuvres and motorcycle control, based on volunteer tests with simulators and during real world measurements ,

(c) development of a biofidelic numerical active human model of a motorcyclist based on this new knowledge,

(d) better understanding of the motorcycle accident’s injury mechanisms by simulating the accidents based on accident reconstruction data,

(e) the creation of a database of simulations of reconstructed motorcycle accidents.

The simulation database is considered by the researcher to have a major impact in the assessment and improvement of safety of 2-wheelers which includes the crashworthiness of the vehicle, protective devices for their occupants and integrated safety systems for such vehicles. The simulation database will be developed for motorcycles but it will be applicable to all other 2-wheelers just by replacing the motorcycle model and the kinematics controller of the rider model with the ones of the 2wheeler. This database will integrate the knowledge from all other results of the project.

[1]WHO Europe, European status report on road safety, 2009

[2] R. G. Attewell et al. Bicycle helmet efficacy: a meta-analysis, Accident Analysis & Prevention,Volume 33, Issue 3, May 2001, Pages 345-352

[3] Thierry S. et al., Le choc moto/VL : analyse épidémiologique, accidentologique et biomécanique / The motorcyclist impact:epidemiologic, accidentologic and biomechanical analysis. Les deux –roues motorisé, Marseille, 2009

[4] Cossalter V. et al. Real cases motorcycle and rider race data investigation, ESV Conference, Lyon, France 2007

[5] Iijima, S. et al., Exploratory study of an airbag concept for a large touring motorcycle ESV. Conf. Ontario, Canada, 1998

[6] Weinert J. et al. The transition to electric bikes in China: history and key reasons for rapid growth, Transportation (2007) 34:301–318