Beware The Moon

December 12, 2017

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Beware The Moon

Yesterday the British Medical Journal published a 6.000 word monograph titled. “The full moon and motorcycle related mortality: population based double control study.”

The study by Donald Redelmeier, professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, and Eldar Shafir, professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University was intended to scientifically determine if it is more dangerous to ride a motorcycle on full moon nights. It is. Slightly.

The authors looked at 13.029 fatal, motorcycle crashes in the United States between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. on 1482 nights from January 1, 1975 through December 31, 2014. There were 4494 fatal crashes on the 494 nights with a full moon and 8535 on 988 control nights. They found you are about five percent more likely to die on a full moon night than other nights.


“The increase extended to diverse types of motorcyclists, vehicles, and crashes; was accentuated during a supermoon; and replicated in analyses from the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.”

Over the four decades, there were an average 9.10 crashes per night during a full moon and 8.64 crashes per night on nights without a full moon.

“The full moon is associated with an increased risk of fatal motorcycle crashes,” the study concluded, “although potential confounders cannot be excluded. An awareness of the risk might encourage motorcyclists to ride with extra care during a full moon and, more generally, to appreciate the power of seemingly minor distractions at all times.”

Wolf Moon Next

Redelmeier and Shafir blame the fatal increase on people’s attraction to beauty. They theorize that riders are more inclined to take their eyes off the road to glance at a full moon. That also explains why supermoons, which are larger and brighter than other full moons are particularly deadly.

The next full Moon in the United States will be the so-called Wolf Moon on January second. It will also be a supermoon.

You can read the entire study here.


10 Responses to “Beware The Moon”

  1. Redneck Says:

    @MTPockets agreed, I pass them all night long and it seems that steady on the throttle with a nice set of pipes “freezes” them. I froze a big buck last summer on a full moon night in the middle of the double yellow, standing straight, facing me. Must have missed that boy by a couple centimeters.

    I was aiming for it, but I remembered I didn’t have any more tags left.

  2. MtPockets Says:

    @ Redneck and @ Nags

    I had the same experience. I learned two things that night.

    One is that loud pipes DO save lives.
    My bike was quiet. The deer didn’t notice me approaching, but did notice of my buddy riding behind me.
    I’ve noticed that with the louder pipes, critters hear me, look up and SEE me long before I get to them- and I also see them better too.

    The other I learned is to NOT back out of the throttle when passing critters alongside the road. When I hit that deer, I had gotten out of the throttle and moved over. The damn thing came across the road to meet its demise after hearing my buddy drop the throttle on his Road King.

    My buddy said it didn’t react when I backed down, but when he did with his louder pipes- THAT’S when it got scared and ran.

    That was 10-15 years ago. I haven’t backed out of the throttle since, and the deer just look up and watch me go by.

    And living where I do, I see a ton of deer…

    Respects to those deserving.


  3. Dutchboy Says:

    Yea, more light, BUT very little depth perception, colors are screwed. Ask any ER nurse and she will tell you, folks get weirder on Full Moons.

  4. Redneck Says:

    @Nags lol yup, and we didn’t have to waster 10 years of our lives behind a computer screen researching it. Oh well, ain’t gonna slow me none..

  5. TX_Biker Says:

    I tried doing a full moon on my bike once….once.

  6. Nags Says:

    @Redneck, it’s not just deer and I’m guessing you and I know a lot about deer for the same reason. It’s not just deer though, all nocturnal animals are more active during a full moon.

  7. bcnasty Says:

    or states the do not distinguish between mopeds or motorcycles. It is only a two wheeled accident and all go to higher insurance premiums.

  8. Redneck Says:

    I would like to know the percentage of injuries caused by deer on full moon nights… Deer are more active on a full moon.

    Go ahead, ask me how I know!

  9. SomeGuy Says:

    This line in the discussion says it all: “Beyond these, a full moon might contribute to increased outdoor activity of all types, including more frequent travel, faster speeds, longer distances, unfamiliar routes, added cross traffic, and mixtures of less experienced travelers.”

    My guess would be people are more likely to ride and if they were already riding, ride further, when it’s nice and bright out at night. More motorcycle miles traveled = more accidents.

  10. Iron Rider Says:

    Yeah the moon, that must be it. Couldn;t be anything with idiots that are driving on the road cutting off motorcycles , braking hard in front of motorcycles, turning in front of motorcycles think that there are no consequences for that rider if I do any of that, nope all the riders fault.

    Nothing to do with the yuppies who go out and by some expensive high cc engine motorcycle and hop on it with dreams of being an SOA bad ass and hit the road with no real riding experience and handling a high cc engine bike that they have no idea being on or the ability to control while driving in heavy traffic or lane splitting their way along not realizing that drivers dont care about you, dont think they should have to share the road with you and sure the fuck aren’t going to look out for you.

    Too many people riding that dont know what they are doing especially in traffic and riding a ride with way way too much power for them to handle safely. The guy who sold these yuppies the bike doesn’t care if you never rode before or if you can handle it, he cares about the commission he is going to make, the old school sales guys would flat out tell you to get something you can handle and then upgrade later on when you have a lot of seat time and can handle a bike with more power, nowadays they dont give a shit, you crash that big powered bike, no worries they have another one you can upgrade to when you get over your injuries and finish getting amped up by SOA that you watched while recovering.

    Any time I have been riding on a moonlit night all it meant to me was I could see shit better on down the road, not that I was dreaming about neil armstrong and the boys. Whoever wrote this study need to go and have a drink and think about their life choices, because coming up with that much bullshit and putting it out as fact is nothing more than someone who has lost their intellectual ability in thinking that people will but those fact for what they are.

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