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Motorcycling app to collect data that could pave the way for improved safety

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A new app is set to provide researchers and road safety experts with more information about the causes of motorcycle crashes.

The MotoSafe app, developed at the University of the Sunshine Coast, will collect data on crashes and near misses from around Australia to gain insight into the factors that put riders at risk.

Research fellow Dr Jolene Cox said the app was created in response to the rising rate of fatalities and hospitalisations of motorcyclists during the past decade.

“In Australia, motorcycle registrations represent 5 per cent of vehicle registrations, but motorcycle road deaths represent 20 per cent of total road deaths,” she said via a UniSC media release.

“And for every death, 35 motorcyclists are hospitalised with injuries.

“Without improving our understanding of motorcyclist incidents, we cannot sufficiently develop interventions.”

Developed by UniSC’s Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems, the app allows motorcyclists to easily log when and where a crash or near miss occurs, and the factors that contributed to the incident, including road infrastructure issues, rider error and driver behaviour.

The MotoSafe is set to collect data on motorcycle crashes.

Lead investigator Professor Paul Salmon said existing motorcycle crash data was mostly limited to incidents that resulted in serious injuries or fatalities, but failed to capture the more frequent occurrences of less serious injuries and near misses.

“There is a critical need for improved road safety data,” he said.

“With MotoSafe, we are attempting to fill in some of those gaps.

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“We can use the data to identify points – like road design, road rules, rider education and training, and the behaviour of other road users – where intervention is needed.

“This will support decision-making around road safety policy and interventions designed to enhance rider safety.”

One of the screens on the MotoSafe app.

While UniSC researchers capture and collate the data reported to MotoSafe over the course of the next six months, users will receive summary data on all incidents reported to the app in real-time.

This will give them information about the factors that contribute to motorcyclist incidents and an opportunity to change how they interact on the road and with other road users.

Related story: World-first initiative could help prevent cycling crashes

Dr Cox said the app would undergo review and refinement after the initial six-month trial period, with a view to make it a permanent resource.

“The incident data and analysis will allow us to identify important trends that will be valuable in informing future research and developing interventions and recommendations for policy changes around motorcycle safety,” she said.

“By informing those changes, we hope this project can lead to a reduction in motorcycle incidents and resulting road trauma.”

Motosafe is funded by the ACT Road Safety Fund Grants program and is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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