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Motorcycle Accident Failure Analysis

Determining the Root Cause of A Motorcycle Accident

Metallurgical failure analysis was requested following a no witness motorcycle accident. There was evidence that the bungee cord hooks from a bungee spider, used to hold luggage in place on the motorcycle, could possibly have interacted with the front wheel spokes of a motorcycle causing a loss of steering control.

Motorcycle wheel axle.
Photograph A Bungee cords wound around front motorcycle wheel axle.

Examination of the bungee cords found tightly wound around the motorcycle front wheel axle revealed that several front wheel spokes were bent and were permanently deformed. One bungee cord, found on the front motorcycle wheel axle, was wrapped approximately 2½ revolutions around the axle indicating that the wheel would have rotated 2½ times, traversing a distance of approximately 18 to 20 feet. However, deformation of the wheel rim resulting from a curb collision was sufficient to prevent wheel rotation past the front fork.

Motorcycle front wheel spoke damage.
Photograph B View of motorcycle front wheel spoke damage.

It was concluded that entanglement of the bungee cord would probably affect motorcycle steering control; however the bungee cord entanglement was not the cause of the accident.

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J.E.I. Metallurgical, Inc.

5514 Harbor Town
Dallas, Texas 75287

Phone: (972) 934-0493
Fax: (469) 737-3938
Email: r.c.jerner@metallurgist.com

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