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Old 12-03-2009, 09:10 AM   #1
dukey33
 
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Dr. Harry Hurt dies at 81

http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/2/5190...1927-2009.aspx

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Dr. Hugh H. (Harry) Hurt, the driving force behind the ground-breaking Hurt Report, has died at the age of 81. The cause of death is reported to be a heart attack after complications from previous back surgery. An in depth obituary can be read in the LA Times: Harry Hurt dies at 81

Dr. Hurt is best known for his work in the 1981 motorcycle accident report that bears his name. Hurt conducted the accident report in the late seventies for the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) while a professor at USC. The report studied the cause and aftermath of more than 900 accidents in the Southern California region. A summary list of 55 findings from the Hurt Report confirms a number of conclusions that riders now take for granted.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:26 AM   #2
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Re: Dr. Harry Hurt dies at 81

"The Hurt Report"
(AKA "Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures")
A brief summary of the findings is listed below. To order the full report, contact:
National Technical Information Service
5285 Port Royal Road
Springfield, Virginia 22161
(703)-487-4600
and order:
Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, Volume 1:
Technical Report, Hurt, H.H., Ouellet, J.V. and Thom, D.R., Traffic Safety Center,
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90007, Contract No. DOT HS-5-
01160, January 1981 (Final Report)
Vol.I (The Main Report and Summary) is PB81206443 (~400 pages)
Vol.II (Appendix: Supplementary Data) is PB81206450 (~400 pages)
Either document is $42.95 plus $3.00 shipping. (circa 1990)
Summary of Findings
Throughout the accident and exposure data there are special observations which relate to
accident and injury causation and characteristics of the motorcycle accidents studied. These
findings are summarized as follows:
1. Approximately three- fourths of these motorcycle accidents involved collision with another
vehicle, which was most often a passenger automobile.
2. Approximately one- fourth of these motorcycle accidents were single vehicle accidents
involving the motorcycle colliding with the roadway or some fixed object in the environment.
3. Vehicle failure accounted for less than 3% of these motorcycle accidents, and most of those
were single vehicle accidents where control was lost due to a puncture flat.
4. In single vehicle accidents, motorcycle rider error was present as the accident precipitating
factor in about two-thirds of the cases, with the typical error being a slideout and fall due to
overbraking or running wide on a curve due to excess speed or under-cornering.
5. Roadway defects (pavement ridges, potholes, etc.) were the accident cause in 2% of the
accidents; animal involvement was 1% of the accidents.
6. In multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-ofway
and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.
7. The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating
cause of motorcycle accidents. The driver of the other vehicle involved in collision with the
motorcycle did not see the motorcycle before the collision, or did not see the motorcycle until
too late to avoid the collision.
8. Deliberate hostile action by a motorist against a motorcycle rider is a rare accident cause. The
most frequent accident configuration is the motorcycle proceeding straight then the automobile
makes a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle.
10. Intersections are the most likely place for the motorcycle accident, with the other vehicle
violating the motorcycle right-of-way, and often violating traffic controls.
11. Weather is not a factor in 98% of motorcycle accidents.
12. Most motorcycle accidents involve a short trip associated with shopping, errands, friends,
entertainment or recreation, and the accident is likely to happen in a very short time close to the
trip origin.
13. The view of the motorcycle or the other vehicle involved in the accident is limited by glare or
obstructed by other vehicles in almost half of the multiple vehicle accidents.
14. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is a critical factor in the multiple vehicle accidents, and
accident involvement is significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle headlamps (on in
daylight) and the wearing of high visibility yellow, orange or bright red jackets.
15. Fuel system leaks and spills were present in 62% of the motorcycle accidents in the postcrash
phase. This represents an undue hazard for fire.
16. The median pre-crash speed was 29.8 mph, and the median crash speed was 21.5 mph, and
the one-in-a-thousand crash speed is approximately 86 mph.
17. The typical motorcycle pre-crash lines-of-sight to the traffic hazard portray no contribution
of the limits of peripheral vision; more than three-fourths of all accident hazards are within
45deg of either side of straight ahead.
18. Conspicuity of the motorcycle is most critical for the frontal surfaces of the motorcycle and
rider.
19. Vehicle defects related to accident causation are rare and likely to be due to deficient or
defective maintenance.
20. Motorcycle riders between the ages of 16 and 24 are significantly overrepresented in
accidents; motorcycle riders between the ages of 30 and 50 are significantly underrepresented.
Although the majority of the accident-involved motorcycle riders are male (96%), the female
motorcycles riders are significantly overrepresented in the accident data.
22. Craftsmen, laborers, and students comprise most of the accident- involved motorcycle riders.
Professionals, sales workers, and craftsmen are underrepresented and laborers, students and
unemployed are overrepresented in the accidents.
23. Motorcycle riders with previous recent traffic citations and accidents are overrepresented in
the accident data.
24. The motorcycle riders involved in accidents are essentially without training; 92% were selftaught
or learned from family or friends. Motorcycle rider training experience reduces accident
involvement and is related to reduced injuries in the event of accidents.
25. More than half of the accident-involved motorcycle riders had less than 5 months experience
on the accident motorcycle, although the total street riding experience was almost 3 years.
Motorcycle riders with dirt bike experience are significantly underrepresented in the accident
data.
26. Lack of attention to the driving task is a common factor for the motorcyclist in an accident.
27. Almost half of the fatal accidents show alcohol involvement.
28. Motorcycle riders in these accidents showed significant collision avoidance problems. Most
riders would overbrake and skid the rear wheel, and underbrake the front wheel greatly reducing
collision avoidance deceleration. The ability to countersteer and swerve was essentially absent.
29. The typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist just less than 2 seconds to complete
all collision avoidance action.
30. Passenger-carrying motorcycles are not overrepresented in the accident area.
31. The driver of the other vehicles involved in collision with the motorcycle are not
distinguished from other accident populations except that the ages of 20 to 29, and beyond 65 are
overrepresented. Also, these drivers are generally unfamiliar with motorcycles.
32. Large displacement motorcycles are underrepresented in accidents but they are associated
with higher injury severity when involved in accidents.
33. Any effect of motorcycle color on accident involvement is not determinable from these data,
but is expected to be insignificant because the frontal surfaces are most often presented to the
other vehicle involved in the collision.
34. Motorcycles equipped with fairings and windshields are underrepresented in accidents, most
likely because of the contribution to conspicuity and the association with more experienced and
trained riders.
35. Motorcycle riders in these accidents were significantly without motorcycle license, without
any license, or with license revoked.
36. Motorcycle modifications such as those associated with the semi-chopper or cafe racer are
definitely overrepresented in accidents.
37. The likelihood of injury is extremely high in these motorcycle accidents-98% of the multiple
vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the
motorcycle rider; 45% resulted in more than a minor injury.
38. Half of the injuries to the somatic regions were to the ankle- foot, lower leg, knee, and thighupper
leg.
39. Crash bars are not an effective injury countermeasure; the reduction of injury to the anklefoot
is balanced by increase of injury to the thigh- upper leg, knee, and lower leg.
40. The use of heavy boots, jacket, gloves, etc., is effective in preventing or reducing abrasions
and lacerations, which are frequent but rarely severe injuries.
41. Groin injuries were sustained by the motorcyclist in at least 13% of the accidents, which
typified by multiple vehicle collision in frontal impact at higher than average speed.
42. Injury severity increases with speed, alcohol involvement and motorcycle size.
43. Seventy-three percent of the accident- involved motorcycle riders used no eye protection, and
it is likely that the wind on the unprotected eyes contributed in impairment of vision which
delayed hazard detection.
44. Approximately 50% of the motorcycle riders in traffic were using safety helmets but only
40% of the accident-involved motorcycle riders were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.
45. Voluntary safety helmet use by those accident- involved motorcycle riders was lowest for
untrained, uneducated, young motorcycle riders on hot days and short trips.
46. The most deadly injuries to the accident victims were injuries to the chest and head.
47. The use of the safety helmet is the single critical factor in the prevention of reduction of head
injury; the safety helmet which complies with FMVSS 218 is a significantly effective injury
countermeasure.
48. Safety helmet use caused no attenuation of critical traffic sounds, no limitation of precrash
visual field, and no fatigue or loss of attention; no element of accident causation was related to
helmet use.
49. FMVSS 218 provides a high level of protection in traffic accidents, and needs modification
only to increase coverage at the back of the head and demonstrate impact protection of the front
of full facial coverage helmets, and insure all adult sizes for traffic use are covered by the
standard.
50. Helmeted riders and passengers showed significantly lower head and neck injury for all types
of injury, at all levels of injury severity.
51. The increased coverage of the full facial coverage helmet increases protection, and
significantly reduces face injuries.
52. There is no liability for neck injury by wearing a safety helmet; helmeted riders had less neck
injuries than unhelmeted riders. Only four minor injuries were attributable to helmet use, and in
each case the helmet prevented possible critical or fatal head injury.
53. Sixty percent of the motorcyclists were not wearing safety helmets at the time of the
accident. Of this group, 26% said they did not wear helmets because they were uncomfortable
and inconvenient, and 53% simply had no expectation of accident involvement.
54. Valid motorcycle exposure data can be obtained only from collection at the traffic site. Motor
vehicle or driver license data presents information which is completely unrelated to actual use.
55. Less than 10% of the motorcycle riders involved in these accidents had insurance of any kind
to provide medical care or replace property.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:08 AM   #3
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Re: Dr. Harry Hurt dies at 81

RIP. His was a a truly meaningful life. Untold lives have been saved over the decades because of his work.

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Old 12-03-2009, 10:26 AM   #4
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Re: Dr. Harry Hurt dies at 81

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doons View Post
"The Hurt Report"
(AKA "Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures")
A brief summary of the findings is listed below.
Great summary of the report...I wonder how much of today's crash statistics might differ from when the report was first written in the early 1980s with mainly a California based data-set.

How does this report compare to say a European crash study? Crash studies involve a high level of statistics, so it must be challenging to assign the final blame because of so many inputs. This might include the riders psychological demeanor right before the accident etc.

Anyway...it seems rider error seems to predominate again.

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Old 12-03-2009, 10:34 AM   #5
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Re: Dr. Harry Hurt dies at 81

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Brown View Post
How does this report compare to say a European crash study?
The most recent comprehensive European crash study practically mirrors the Hurt data:

http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/new...udy/index.html
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:55 AM   #6
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Re: Dr. Harry Hurt dies at 81

Art Friedman offers memories of Dr. Hurt and the study:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Friedman

Back in the 1970s, when we heard that the NHTSA was going to conduct this (safety) study, we were slightly alarmed. At the time the agency was headed by Joan Claybrook, who was perceived as being very anti-motorcycle. We feared this study would simply conclude that motorcycles were so dangerous that they should be illegalized. So we were suspicious when we learned that it was about to be released and decided to interview the egghead professor at USC who was in charge. Professor Hurt immediately won us over. "

He was obviously very smart. His approach to accident investigation made tremendous sense, even to doltish motorcycle journalists. We were also surprised that he was a real enthusiast. He rode a Kawasaki 750 Mach IV two-stroke triple, among other things. He insisted that his investigators be motorcyclists too, so that they could really understand what happened in motorcycle crashes.

His study was thorough, unbiased, and enlightening. Sure, it confirmed stuff we already believed, such as the fact that DOT helmets really do work. But we also learned that a cheap helmet was as effective in preventing head injuries as a pricey lid and that all the imagined downsides of helmet use (neck injuries, failure to perceive other vehicles, etc.) simply weren't issues. We learned that we were doing a poor job of making ourselves visible in traffic, that we need to keep our skills sharp if we are going to escape the dreaded left-turner, that "laying it down" was more dangerous than staying upright, that failure to use the brakes effectively would likely end in a crash from either stopping too slowly or losing control, and that even a single beer impaired us significantly.

Though it was hard to pin him down on the topic, he actually didn't seem to favor motorcycle helmet laws. He apparently took a Darwinist approach to the matter -- if you were too stupid to wear something so clearly effective, you deserved to be taken out of the gene pool.

Although he is best known for his work in motorcycles, he was an equally bright light in aviation, having been a pilot since his teens. His book, Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators, published in 1960, is still the standard work on the topic. As a grad student at USC, he was involved with a project to develop a crash helmet for the military which lead to the basic design -- a hard shell lined with EPS -- that forms the basis for helmets we use today.

One story gives some sense of his enthusiasm for motorcycling: He'd broken his leg and wasn't supposed to ride. Then one day in his garage, he realized that if he could sit on his Triumph, he could start it by rolling down his driveway and popping it in gear. He could then shift awkwardly with his casted leg. Soon he was breezing along on a desert road...maybe a bit too fast. The red lights came on in his mirror but he just pulled over to the edge of the road and slowed down. The cop pulled up and yelled for him to stop. "He shouted back. "I can't." The cop let him go.

I don't think his contributions to motorcycle safety can be overstated. Back in 1990, when I was editor of Motorcyclist, we picked a Motorcyclist of the Decade (the 1980s) through a reader poll. Readers, not surprisingly, chose multiple-time World and National Champion Kenny Roberts, but using my prerogative as editor, I wrote a column naming my choice, which was Harry. After all, Roberts had thrilled us, but Harry Hurt had helped save many of our lives and limbs and continues to do so. Mostly I remember him for his considerable intellect, his reluctance to suffer fools, and his tremendous enthusiasm for motorcycling and making it safer.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:29 PM   #7
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Re: Dr. Harry Hurt dies at 81

Anybody who rides a motorcycle owes Dr. Hurt their sincere gratitude. I use the fact that riders who have dirt experience are underrepresented in accidents to justify my son getting a KL250 at age 8.

Here is my favorite Harry Hurt pic:

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Old 12-11-2009, 09:16 PM   #8
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Re: Dr. Harry Hurt dies at 81

That is a great picture, Lyle. And yes, we do indeed owe him a debt of gratitude.

RIP Dr. Hurt.


Lee

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
Anybody who rides a motorcycle owes Dr. Hurt their sincere gratitude. I use the fact that riders who have dirt experience are underrepresented in accidents to justify my son getting a KL250 at age 8.

Here is my favorite Harry Hurt pic:


Is that Ponch or Jon in the background?
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:46 PM   #9
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Re: Dr. Harry Hurt dies at 81

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Originally Posted by leekellerking View Post
Is that Ponch or Jon in the background?
Too tall to be Ponch, so it must be Jon!
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:34 PM   #10
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Re: Dr. Harry Hurt dies at 81

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyle View Post
Too tall to be Ponch, so it must be Jon!
Or Sgt. Getraer:



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