Can the Moon Cause Motorcycle Crashes?

Moon Rider

Moon Rider

Many things have been cited as the cause of increased motorcycle accidents: weather, wild animals, distracted drivers. However, did you ever think that the moon may be one of those causes? Researchers from the University of Toronto and Princeton University were curious about this question, so they dug up records from 1975 to 2014. What they discovered may surprise you.

Could Some Motorcycle Crashes Be Caused by the Moon?

In a study published by The BMJ, researchers Donald Redelmeier and Eldar Shafir discovered that more motorcyclists die on nights with the full moon than without. They looked at statistics from 494 nights that had full moons and compared them to statistics from “control” nights that were both one week before and one week after the full moon (988 control nights).

They found that on average 9.10 motorcyclists fatally crashed each night there was a full moon compared to 8.64 motorcyclist deaths on nights without a full moon. Even more surprising, on nights that had a super moon—that’s when the full moon shines even brighter than normal—those numbers increased. Around 10.82 motorcyclists died per night when a super moon was out.

Does this mean the moon is the cause of an increase in motorcyclist deaths every month? The researchers in this study can’t say. Due to the fact that their study was observational, it only crunched numbers from the United States registry of motor vehicle crashes. They did not factor in details like the moon’s visibility, the cause of the motorcycle crashes or whether there were imminent road hazards. However, they did theorize that the moon may be distracting the riders in these situations.

Though these researchers did not nail down a direct cause in their study, they did learn that this trend also occurs in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. But what does this mean for you as a rider? Will you take extra precautions when you ride during a full moon? The attorneys who ride at Metier Law Firm would like to know, so leave a comment or head over to our Facebook page.