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Motor scooters and mopeds – a growing attraction for young people.
In the last decade, the growth in motorcycling and the associated road trauma has largely been among riders aged 25 and over who already have car licences and are taking up riding for the first time or returning to riding, mainly for recreation. Yet the fatality rate (expressed in terms of distance travelled) for 17-25 year old motorcyclists is three times that of riders aged 26-39 years and is more than 30 times higher than for 17-25 year old car drivers (ATSB, 2002).
More recently, sales of scooters and mopeds have increased at a greater rate than for other types of on-road motorcycles and much of the marketing is aimed at the young. We know little about the crash involvement of scooters and mopeds and whether they are safer for young people (or riders of all ages) than other motorcycles. There are difficulties in defining motor scooters and mopeds and identifying them in crash and other data bases. This paper presents analyses that compare the nature and extent of young rider moped crashes with motorcycle crashes in Queensland in 2001 to 2005. While the number of motorcycle crashes involving young riders increased by 83% during this period, the number of moped crashes increased by 208%. Riders aged 17-24 were involved in 38% of moped crashes but only 25% of motorcycle crashes. The severity profiles of motorcycle and moped crashes were similar. The interpretation of these data and its implications for licensing and other countermeasures will be discussed.