Browse Publications Technical Papers 09-11-01-0004
2022-06-03

Falling Direction of Motorcycle and Its Application in Traffic Accident Reconstruction 09-11-01-0004

This also appears in SAE International Journal of Transportation Safety-V132-9EJ

This article presents a simple method to determine the falling direction of a motorcycle to the ground after a crash or slight impact, which can be used in accident reconstruction. The motorcycle is divided into two groups, namely, front assembly (front wheel, front-wheel cover, fork, handlebar, and rearview mirror, etc.) and rear assembly (frame, body shell, engine, transmission, rear suspension system, muffler, real wheel, and center stand). We introduce gyroscopic moment as well as roll moment and explain their effects on the motorcycle falling direction. The research shows that when impact takes place in the front assembly of a motorcycle, the falling direction of the motorcycle would depend on the gyroscopic moment, which in turn can be judged by the direction the handlebar was turned to. If the handlebar is turned to the left, the motorcycle falls to the right. If the handlebar is turned to the right, the motorcycle falls to the left. For collisions that occur in the rear assembly of a motorcycle, the falling direction of the motorcycle would be determined by the roll moment, which is associated with the heights of the equivalent impact point and the center of mass of the motorcycle. A simple table is included for quick reference. People can easily determine the falling direction of the motorcycle after an accident based on the table without knowing the theories of mechanics. Real traffic accident cases in Taiwan are used as examples to validate the method. The method to determine the falling direction of the motorcycle can be used to verify the moving direction of the motorcycle before impact which is important in accident reconstruction.

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