A heterogeneity based case-control analysis of motorcyclist's injury crashes: Evidence from motorcycle crash causation study

Behram Wali, Asad J. Khattak, Aemal J. Khattak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The main objective of this study is to quantify how different “policy-sensitive” factors are associated with risk of motorcycle injury crashes, while controlling for rider-specific, psycho-physiological, and other observed/unobserved factors. The analysis utilizes data from a matched case-control design collected through the FHWA's Motorcycle Crash Causation Study. In particular, 351 cases (motorcyclists involved in injury crashes) are analyzed vis-à-vis similarly-at-risk 702 matched controls (motorcyclists not involved in crashes). Unlike traditional conditional estimation of relative risks, the paper presents heterogeneity based statistical analysis that accounts for the possibility of both within and between matched case-control variations. Overall, the correlations between key risk factors and injury crash propensity exhibit significant observed and unobserved heterogeneity. The results of best-fit random parameters logit model with heterogeneity-in-means show that riders with partial helmet coverage (U.S. DOT compliant helmets with partial coverage, least intrusive covering only the top half of the cranium) have a significantly lower risk of injury crash involvement. Lack of motorcycle rider conspicuity captured by dark (red) upper body clothing is associated with significantly higher injury crash risk (odds ratio 3.87, 95% CI: 1.63, 9.61). Importantly, a rider's motorcycle-oriented lower clothing (e.g., cannot easily get stuck in the machinery) significantly lowers the odds of injury crash involvement. Regarding the effectiveness of training, formal motorcycle driving training in recent years was associated with lower injury crash propensity. Finally, riders with less sleep prior to crash/interview exhibited 1.97 times higher odds of crash involvement compared to riders who had more than 5 h of sleep. Methodologically, the conclusion is that the correlations of several rider, exposure, apparel, and riding history related factors with crash risk are not homogeneous and in fact vary in magnitude as well as direction. The study results indicate the need to develop appropriate countermeasures, such as refresher motorcycle training courses, prevention of sleep-deprived/fatigued riding, and riding under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-214
Number of pages13
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Case-control analysis
  • Crash propensity
  • Heterogeneity-in-means
  • Motorcycle crash causation
  • Observed and unobserved heterogeneity
  • Random parameters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Law
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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