Father Of Motorcycle Research Passes On

Right To Right has heard of the death of Harry Hurt, 81, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

One of the world’s foremost authorities on motorcycle crashes and their causes. Harry Hurt died on November 29th at a hospital in Pomona, California, he had a heart attack after back surgery.

The obituary by Susan Carpenter reports that, “Mr. Hurt was the principal investigator of the Hurt Report, an investigation of 900 motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles in 1976 and 1977. His research, published in 1981, continues to form the basis of many U.S. motorcycle safety programs and is credited with saving countless lives.”

“Among the study’s major findings were that speed was not a factor in most crashes; that helmets were effective in preventing brain injuries and deaths; and that two-thirds of motorcycle crashes involved cars and two-thirds of those accidents occurred when a car driver failed to see the motorcycle and violated the motorcyclist’s right of way.”

“Harry was the acknowledged giant in motorcycle accident research,” said Jim Ouellet, one of the accident investigators for the Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures study, better known as the Hurt Report.”

“Similar studies since 1990 reflect his influence and have largely confirmed his findings,” Ouellet added. “He was a bulldog at finding the facts and making them public even if some people were unhappy when the facts he reported didn’t support their pet theories.”

Right To Ride’s Elaine Hardy says, “What made Harry Hurt a giant amongst motorcycle researchers was his intolerance for fools and bad research. He believed that most human factor researchers don’t know ‘diddlysquat about motorcycles, only what they’ve been told or what they’ve read or seen on television’…”

“He felt that these pre-conceptions could be dangerous and yield erroneous results, inspiring legislation that seriously affect all riders.”

“As we know, a significant proportion of motorcycle research that has been churned out in recent years, proves that he was right.”

Harry Hurt R.I.P. 1927 – 2009


Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-harry-hurt2-2009dec02,0,1034954.story

AMA Hall Of Fame

Interview with Harry Hurt http://www.soundrider.com/archive/safety-skills/harry_hurt_interview.htm

Hurt Report – Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors And Identification Of Countermeasures – 1981 pdf 4mb

Hurt Report – Summary of Findings – 1981 pdf 90kb

Watch AMA Hall Of Fame Video


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