Full-Scale Moving Motorcycle into Moving Car Crash Testing for Use in Safety Design and Accident Reconstruction 2012-01-0103
Test methods for vehicle safety development are either based on the movement of a vehicle into a stationary barrier or the movement of a barrier into a stationary vehicle. When deemed necessary, a two-moving-vehicle impact is approximated by modifying the impact motion between the moving and stationary objects. For example, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 214 side-impact crash test procedure  approximates the lateral impact of a moving vehicle into the side of another moving vehicle by using a moving barrier with wheels crabbed so that the velocity vector of the barrier is not collinear with its longitudinal axis. Such approximations are valid when the post-impact motions of the two vehicles are not to be evaluated.
Similarly, the published data indicates that historic analyses of motorcycle accidents and the advancements in motorcycle safety designs have been based, in large part, on single-moving-vehicle crash tests. However, and as will be described in the following research, the accuracy of the post-impact motion of the motorcycle and automobile is important for evaluating the post-impact kinematics of the motorcycle rider. For two-moving-vehicle accidents, the rotation of the motorcycle front wheel and the resulting asymmetric compression and deformation of the front forks affects the post-impact motion of the motorcycle rider and the deformation of both the motorcycle and the other vehicle. As such, it is preferred to conduct two-moving crash tests when evaluating these post-impact kinematics. Furthermore, unlike when an automobile impacts another automobile, when a motorcycle impacts an automobile, the front tire and wheel of the motorcycle are often directly involved in the engagement. Because the rotation of the front wheel and the compression of the front suspension of the motorcycle may be critical factors in evaluating the impact, it is difficult to accurately approximate a two-moving impact involving a motorcycle with a single-moving test.
Exponent's Test and Engineering Center has been conducting moving motorcycle into moving car crash tests for many years and has developed the methodology for conducting such tests for a wide variety of speeds and impact orientations. Along the way, a significant amount has been learned about the post impact motion of the motorcycle, the kinematics of the rider, and the evidence available for analysis when a motorcycle is involved in a two-moving-vehicle impact. A greater understanding of the differences between two-moving-vehicle impacts involving motorcycles and single-moving-vehicle impacts involving motorcycles has also developed.
This paper presents the method used and a selection of the results derived from a series of moving-motorcycle into moving-car crash tests. The tests included were conducted at speeds representing urban travel and highway travel and provide data that is useful in the evaluation of crash events with variations in the impact angle and initial point of contact between vehicles.
Citation: Smith, J., Frank, T., Bosch, K., Fowler, G. et al., "Full-Scale Moving Motorcycle into Moving Car Crash Testing for Use in Safety Design and Accident Reconstruction," SAE Technical Paper 2012-01-0103, 2012, https://doi.org/10.4271/2012-01-0103. Download Citation
James W. Smith, Todd A. Frank, Kelly E. Bosch, Graeme F. Fowler, Jarrod W. Carter