SAFETY RESEARCH UNIT


Accident Prevention Options with Motorcycle Helmet

 

COST 357 / PROHELM
Accident Prevention Options with Motorcycle Helmet

As stated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), riders of powered two-wheeled vehicles, like motorcycles, account for about 14% of all traffic fatalities in the EU, or over 6000 persons annually. Statistics make clear that an integral motorcycle helmet (full facial protection) is a life-saver in an accident, but do not address the question of whether the helmet has been optimized for the cognitive needs of the wearer, such as minimizing distraction due to noise or thermal discomfort, maximizing useful visual information, and providing the necessary air exchange. At the same time, because automobile drivers are responsible fore about ½ of all PTW accidents, the helmet could play an important role in optimizing the visibility, or conspicuity, of the PTW-rider combination, since it is generally the highest visible point and can be seen from all sides. To summarize, we aim at learning how the cognitive abilities of PTW-riders are influenced by the helmet construction, and how the cognitive abilities of other drivers could be influenced. In particular, we would like to parameterize these aspects of motorcycle helmets, so that it becomes possible to measure them. This is the first effort which encompasses researchers from the necessary breadth of backgrounds to address the complex issues involved, and it benefits from a wide geographic variation as well.