Friday, December 4, 2009

Harry Hurt
Dec 13, 1927 - Nov 29, 2009

The motorcycle world lost an icon this week. Harry Hurt, principal investigator of the Hurt Report, died Sunday at the age of 81. His groundbreaking research still used today; is the basis for motorcycle safety programs and is credited with saving countless lives.

Harry is acknowledged as the giant in motorcycle accident research, working relentlessly to uncover the facts, and make them public, which sometimes irked folks when his facts didn’t support their pet theories. His studies proved that helmets can prevent brain injury; speed is not a factor in most crashes; two-thirds of motorcycle crashes involve cars and two-thirds of those were caused by car drivers who violated the motorcycle’s right of way. Harry Hurt’s study was based on 900 motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles from 1976 to 1977. Similar studies have been done that support his findings.

Harry was a lifelong motorcyclist and never had a crash in his life. He rode a cornucopia of motorcycles, even an off-rode trail bike to walk his dog.

Despite the evidence that has helped save so many lives, 5290 people still die yearly in motorcycle crashes. To that end, the US DOT announced a new Crash Causation Study in October. The government agreed to contribute 2 million to the study with the understanding that partners in the research would come up with the matching funds. The MSF agreed to kick in 3 million in funds. Since then however, the price tag has risen, being estimated at between 8 to 9 million dollars. The government then decided to cut the scope of the study from the 900 -1200 (as in the Hurt report) to only 300 crashes. This was not in the agreement MSF signed on for and they are now withholding funds saying the study will be compromised in being comparable to those in the past.

You don’t need me to rehash all the details here. You can find information about the study at Read the MSF statement here: And if you agree that the study should remain at 900 crashes and not cut to 300 you can sign a petition here: I think we owe it to Harry Hurt, who probably has saved many of us because of his study, to see that the report is done right.

Harry is survived by his wife, two sons, three daughters and ten grandchildren. A remembrance will be held at Paramount lab in January.

1 comment:

mq01 said...

great post pat, thank you. im going to that petition now. as far as im concerned, and with as many left turners that ive avoided, i am confident of the hurt reports findings still today. i agree, the hurt report has saved lives by bringing attn to certain patterns and areas of danger. rest in peace Harry Hurt