Motorcycle ergonomics has become one of the most important concepts in ergonomics because of its life saving and wellness improvement capabilities. The goal of ergonomics is to optimize wellness as well as the overall performance of the system itself. As an applied science, motorcycle ergonomics is concerned with the design that fits the anatomical, psychological and physiological capabilities and characteristics of a motorcycle rider. Also, See Ergo Cycling
In the United States, the number of fatalities recorded as a result of motorcycle accidents has been very alarming. In 2015 alone, 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in crashes on U.S. roads representing around 14 percent of all highway fatalities. In the United Kingdom, the picture is quite similar, motorcyclists in most cities and communities typically constitute less than 4% of the total number of licensed vehicles on the roads but they, however, account for around 21% of all fatalities recorded on UK roads each year. This disproportionate distribution of traffic accidents and road fatalities reveals that when it comes to road traffic accidents motorcycle riders are 51 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured as compared to car drivers. The three most common types of motorcycle accidents are:
Right of way violations–This usually occurs when other motorists or road users fail to see an incoming Motorcyclist approaching a junction and pull out on them, even though they were looking in the direction from where the motorcyclist was riding.
Loss of control on a bend, corner, or curve– These accidents are associated with riding for pleasure involving only the Motorcyclist and no other traffic, often regarded as the fault of the motorcyclist rather than other road users.
Motorcycle maneuverability accidents – These are related mostly to the ability to retain control while overtaking other vehicles or obstacles on the road
Other Factors – Other accidents can occur when the motorcyclist is passing stationary or slow moving traffic, this is often referred to as ‘filtering’.
There are several factors that affect comfortable sitting posture on a motorcycle these includes:
- How rider sits while riding
- His / her body dimensions
- The quality of seat cushions on the motorcycle
- How the weight and pressure of the motorcyclist are distributed while riding
- How long does the rider sit in the same position while riding the motorcycle?
- How comfortable the rider is while operating the various controls on the motorcycle
A study conducted at the College of Engineering in Pune revealed that the majority of motorcyclists experienced major discomfort in several parts of their bodies while riding their motorcycles. The results showed that the reported discomforts the motorcyclist experienced were mainly in the upper body parts of their body (neck or head, upper back, shoulder, arm and hand, low back, and buttock).In order to avoid some of the life threatening health issues related to motorcycle ridings, such as backache and the increased risk of testicular torsion (testicle pain), systems were designed to develop motorcycles from an ergonomics perspective trading aesthetics for ergonomics in order to improve human comfort and safety.
Software and applications were developed to meet up with the increasing level of comfort demanded by customers while still maintaining the high safety standards required, resulting in motorcycles that are aesthetically pleasing, ergonomically sound, and safety compliant.
What is Cycle Ergo?
Cycle Ergo is a word derived from motorcycle ergonomics, it is a computerized program that factors in the dimensions of the body of an individual based on the model of the motorcycle selected to graphically present how the body will be positioned on a motorcycle or scooter. This allows for further adjustments such as changes in the bar position or alignment of the seat to ensure it fits perfectly. Features in cycle ergo also facilitate the comparison of two or more motorcycles simultaneously so that the best motorcycle will be selected based on available alternatives.
Cycle Ergo and Cycle Ergometer
Cycle ergo must not be confused with cycle ergometer. The latter refers to a fixed cycling machine that is deployed for fitness testing and exercise. A cycle ergometer estimate the intensity of an exercise from the number of rounds per minutes (rpm) and the adjusted resistance to pedaling set.
A study on the health benefits of cycle ergometer published in the European Review of Ageing and physical activity reported that, it has a positive effect on the improvement of metabolic activity, functional status, cognitive performance, muscle strength and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
Importance and Benefits of Cycle Ergo
- Motorcycle ergonomics reduces the magnitude of vibrations that are transmitted to the body. These vibrations cause long term damage and disruption of the natural processes in the body.
- Motorcycle ergonomics reduces the risk of testicular trauma, testicular failure, testicular torsion, testicular pains, and other conditions associated with motorcycle riding.
- Motorcycle ergonomics fit the motorcycle or scooter to the individual rather than the other way around. This reduces discomfort and its associated health consequences
- Motorcycle ergonomics help prevent musculoskeletal conditions such as chronic upper back pains, neck pains, shoulder pains, arm and hand pains, low back pains, and buttock pains arising from wrong positioning.
- Motorcycle ergonomics and Cycle ergo makes riding a motorcycle more comfortable and convenient by eliminating or alleviating most of the factors that cause discomfort, disorientation, and accidents.
- Cycle ergonomics prevents the financial and medical burden of the chronic conditions associated with wrong positions common to motorcycle riders. Read: Safety Guidelines For Pedestrians
Dangers of Neglecting Motorcycle Ergonomics
- Increased risk of testicular trauma.
- Increased risk of chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain from motorcycle riding.
- Severe discomfort and disorientation during motorcycle rides.
- Increased medical expenses associated with preventable conditions.
- Increased risk of death while driving a motorcycle due to discomfort and distractions.
Tip on How to Reduce Pain and Locate the Best Motorcycle Riding Positions
If you already have a motorcycle, you can improve your driving comfort and prevent pain by doing the following:
- Try not to keep the same position on your bike for a long time, turn your head from time to time and let your shoulders have some rest.
- Check your bike’s seat and suspension and tune it to your riding conditions.
- To avoid head pain, adjust your bike’s handlebar position to positions more suited to your height and riding position.
- Taking supplements such as zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 will boost the energy supply to your muscles and prevent pain and fatigue.
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