WIT Press

Experimental research aimed at determining the force and energy of the impact of motorcyclist’s head against a motor car side during a road accident


Free (open access)


Volume 8 (2018), Issue 1



Page Range

20 - 30

Paper DOI



WIT Press




The paper covers both experimental tests and analytical calculations. The calculations were based on a frame-by-frame analysis of a video record of the experiment and on results of measurements of the motorcyclist, motorcycle, and car acceleration vector components. They enabled determining the forces that acted in the areas of contact between the motorcycle and motorcyclist with the vehicle during the collision.

A few experiments were carried out, which included the physical reconstruction of a road accident where a motorcyclist frontally hit a motor car side and the related laboratory examinations of motorcycle helmets and helmet liner materials. Based on the experimental test results, the position and velocity of motorcyclist’s head in relation to his/her torso and to the car side in the initial phase of the accident were determined. The forces developing in the area of motorcyclist’s head impact against the car side caused deformation of car body, helmet shell, and inner helmet material. The analysis covered an impact capable to result in a situation where the car body reaction force applied to the helmet might cause the energy-absorbing liner and comfort padding of the helmet to be deformed to such an extent that the said force would directly act on motorcyclist’s head.

The tests carried out revealed what part of the kinetic energy of motorcyclist’s body, dissipated during an accident, depended on the course of deformation of vehicle body (in the place struck by motorcyclist’s head) and helmet and on the type of helmet liner material. An important outcome of the experimental research and computations is the evaluation of the effectiveness of helmet materials and their suitability for the protection of motorcyclist’s head during a road accident.


motorcycle accidents, motorcyclist safety, research helmets