Research Links Motorcycle Accident Deaths and . . . Full Moon?

moon

The full moon has long been linked to supposed strange occurrences and odd behaviors in people and animals. Ancient philosophers posited that water in the brain was somehow subject to the pull of the moon, much like ocean tides. It’s no coincidence that the words “lunacy” and “lunatic” are derived from Luna, who was the Roman goddess of the moon.

While scientific proof that the phases of the moon have influence over our minds is lacking, statistics do show one surprising lunar effect: a study published by the BMJ found a link between the full moon and fatal motorcycle accidents.

As a motorcyclist, you are surely aware of the importance of driving defensively. In a wreck, a motorcyclist is 26 times more likely to be killed and 5 times more likely to be injured than someone in a car, according a 2012 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So go ahead and take that nighttime ride. But be especially alert to your surroundings and other drivers when the moon is in its fullest phase.

If you are a biker and were injured due to another motorist’s negligence, you need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Call Pikeville, KY, attorney Billy Johnson at 877-712-2747.

Ride Carefully When the Moon Is Full

The study published in the BMJ was a joint effort between Donald Redelmeier of the University of Toronto and Eldar Shafir of Princeton. For their analysis, they used data compiled by the official United States registry of motor vehicle crashes for the years 1975 through 2014. They compared fatal accidents on nights with a full moon against those on “control” nights — one week before and one week after.

  • During the 1,482 nights analyzed, 13,029 people were involved in a fatal motorcycle accident.
  • The typical incident involved a middle-aged man not wearing a helmet who had a head-on collision in a car accident, in a rural location.
  • On the 988 nights without a full moon, there were 8,535 fatal crashes, or 8.64 per night.
  • On the 494 nights with a full moon, there were 4,494 fatal crashes, or 9.10 per night — that’s one additional wreck for every two full moon nights.
  • When the researchers looked at the 65 supermoon nights, the difference was even more dramatic, with a total of 703 fatal accidents, or 10.82 per night.
  • Data from Canada, the UK, and Australia showed similar results.

The BMJ study is observational, which means the researchers didn’t draw firm conclusions about why there are more fatal motorcycle accidents under a full moon. But it’s certainly not due to the lunar gravitational pull on our brains or other mysterious forces at work. The answer is likely much simpler: distraction. A full moon is beautiful and eye-catching. And when drivers take their eyes off the road, disaster can happen in an instant.

Billy Johnson Is On Your Side

A lifelong motorcyclist himself, lawyer Billy Johnson is a passionate defender of motorcyclists’ rights. If you or a family member was hurt while riding, whether in a car accident or other mishap, contact us for a free consultation. We will find the responsible parties and help you win the damages you need to recover and regain your life. Get in touch online or call 877-712-3620.

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