Over-arching issues
Important issues for APEC Member Economies


The six over-arching issues contributing to the over-involvement of motorcycles and scooters in serious crashes are:

  • vulnerability to injury
  • inexperience or lack of recent experience
  • driver failure to see motorcycles
  • instability and braking difficulties
  • road surface and environmental hazards
  • risk taking (including drink driving and speeding)



Motorcycling has traditionally been more popular among males than females and the role of gender differences in motorcycle safety remains an important, if under-researched, topic. In many jurisdictions, females have been more common as motorcycle pillion passengers than riders. Australian data shows that while females make up only about 3% of motorcycle riders killed, about half of the pillion passengers killed are female (ATSB, 2004).

There is also some evidence that motorcycle and scooter use by women is increasing in APEC economies. Rogers (2008) reports that the percentage of riders in the US who were females increased from 2% in 1990 to 10% in 2005. There have been claims of increased numbers of female riders in Australia (MSCC, 2009) but little objective data is available. There was a 6.9% increase in female motorcyclists hospitalised from 1999-2000 to 2003-04, compared with a 4.2% increase in male motorcyclists hospitalised (Johnston et al., 2008).

In developed economies, women make up a larger proportion of scooter riders than riders of traditional motorcycles. In Queensland, Australia, females comprised 38% of moped riders in crashes, compared with 7% of motorcycle riders in crashes (Haworth & Nielson, 2008). Combined with an increase in the popularity of scooters and mopeds in developed economies, this suggests that the number of female riders will continue to increase in importance.


Important issues for APEC Member Economies

Crash contributing factors

A survey conducted as part of developing this compendium identified that the most important contributing factors to motorcycle and scooter crashes were:

For all/most Economies (High Income Economies [HIE] and Low/Medium Income Economies [LMIE]):

  • speeding
  • drink driving
  • unlicensed riding

For Low/Medium Income Economies (LMIE):

  • rider inexperience
  • poor knowledge of road rules
  • decision making errors
  • distraction


Contributing factors to deaths

The most important contributing factors to motorcycle and scooter deaths identified were:

  • speeding
  • drink-driving
  • unlicensed riding
  • riders violating road rules

The same factors were considered to contribute to injuries as to deaths.


Causes of Death rating graph

Graph: Overall rating of importance of selected causes of death from a motorcycle or scooter user in APEC economies in the last year (survey conducted 2010), as identified by APEC Economies (view full-size image in browser [110KB]) or (view as PDF [580KB])


© APEC 2011