Full moon raises risk of fatal bike crashes, study finds
Motorcyclists are more likely to be involved in a fatal collision when there is a full moon, a new study has found.
Research conducted by the University of Toronto suggests that bikers are distracted by the moon's 'wonderment', which could lead them to take their eyes off the road.
The study, which covered fatalities in the UK, United States, Canada and Australia, concluded that for every two nights with a full moon an additional crash would occur.
Data collected found 4,494 fatal crashes occurred in the US on 494 nights with a full moon between1975 and 2004. In the UK, 309 fatal crashes took place.
And on nights with a 'supermoon' it gets even more perilous. The study found 703 fatal crashes occurred in the US on the 65 supermoon nights (with increased brightness and larger apparent size), equal to 10.82 per night.
"Our study suggests that extra care is needed when riding a motorcycle during a full moon," said Dr Donald Redelmeier, co-author of the research.
"More broadly, the findings highlight the importance of constant attention when riding.
"Although a momentary distraction might be difficult to avoid, attention can be immediately redirected by a cognizant motorcyclist."
Dr Redelmeier added that the average ride for a motorcyclist "is more dangerous than [for] a drunk driver with no seatbelt who travels the same distance."
He said: "Risk is one of those things that people just can't sense until it is too late – that's why we need science about this."
The study concluded: "Several aspects of attention and perception could explain an association between the full moon and motorcycle fatalities. A full moon is infrequent and spectacular, thereby creating a natural distraction."