The increased popularity of mopeds and motor scooters in Australia and elsewhere in the last decade has contributed substantially to the greater use of powered two-wheelers (PTWs) as a whole. As the exposure of mopeds and scooters has increased, so too has the number of reported crashes involving those PTW types, but there is currently little research comparing the safety of mopeds and, particularly, larger scooters with motorcycles. This study compared the crash risk and crash severity of motorcycles, mopeds and larger scooters in Queensland, Australia. Comprehensive data cleansing was undertaken to separate motorcycles, mopeds and larger scooters in police-reported crash data covering the five years to 30 June 2008. The crash rates of motorcycles (including larger scooters) and mopeds in terms of registered vehicles were similar over this period, although the moped crash rate showed a stronger downward trend. However, the crash rates in terms of distance travelled were nearly four times higher for mopeds than for motorcycles (including larger scooters). More comprehensive distance travelled data is needed to confirm these findings. The overall severity of moped and scooter crashes was significantly lower than motorcycle crashes but an ordered probit regression model showed that crash severity outcomes related to differences in crash characteristics and circumstances, rather than differences between PTW types per se. Greater motorcycle crash severity was associated with higher (>80km/h) speed zones, horizontal curves, weekend, single vehicle and nighttime crashes. Moped crashes were more severe at night and in speed zones of 90km/h or more. Larger scooter crashes were more severe in 70km/h zones (than 60km/h zones) but not in higher speed zones, and less severe on weekends than on weekdays. The findings can be used to inform potential crash and injury countermeasures tailored to users of different PTW types.
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