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Do Nights With A Full Moon See More Fatal Motorcycle Accidents?

Studies Show That Nights With A Full Moon See More Motorcycle Fatalities

We’re calling BS on this one, but apparently nights with full moons see more motorcycle accidents…according to the University of Toronto and Princeton University. It’s not because motorcyclists turn into lunatics or car drivers into werewolves, in fact, these experts are chalking it up to moments of “wonderment” – which is a romantic way to say that motorcyclists get distracted looking at the moon. Obviously.

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The study analyzed incidents of fatal motorcycle accidents in the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia between the years 1975 to 2014 and found a slight correlation between evenings with more fatalities and the presence of a full moon. The logic being that motorcyclists can become momentarily distracted when the moon appears suddenly from behind an obstacle. This moment of distraction leads the rider to take their attention from the road, thus putting them in a dangerous situation. The study found that nights with full moons clocked an extra crash when compared with the average. It’s hardly conclusive, but you know…stats and that.

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Nights with “supermoons” (when the moon appears larger than normal) increased the chances of a motorcycle fatality too, apparently. According to the US registry of motor vehicle crashes, between 1975 and 2014, 49494 fatal accidents happened one the 494 full moon evenings in that time period, or 9.10 per full moon night. That figure was then compared with the average for regular nights, which clocked an average of only 8.64 fatal accidents. Similar results were clocked for the UK, Canada, and Australia too.

Full Moon Riding: Stay Safe Out There

The experts in charge of the study concluded that: “because people’s attention is naturally drawn to a full moon, it might contribute to fatal motorcycle crashes. In particular, glancing at a full moon takes the motorcyclist’s gaze off the road, which could result in a loss of control. A full moon might also lead to changes in surrounding traffic behaviors, such as distracting other motorists or pedestrians from noticing an oncoming motorcycle.”

Night Road

The lead author of the study, Dr. Donald Redelmeier, really earned his intellectual prefix by reminding motorcyclists of the importance of constant attention when riding. The report also added these pearls of wisdom: “Additional strategies while riding might include wearing a helmet, activating headlights, scanning the road surface for defects, respecting the weather, being wary of left turning vehicles, obeying traffic laws and forgoing stunts,” to help keep you safe on full moon nights. So next time you want to go for a nighttime stunt ride on your motorcycle without headlights or a helmet, during a rainstorm and during a full moon, be sure to follow their advice. You have been warned.

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In case you were wondering, this isn’t actually fake news and the study has been published in the BMJ. Whatever your feelings, just be careful out there and always remember: it doesn’t have to be you that gets distracted. Accidents can happen to anyone and at any time. Full moon or not.


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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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