The following presents a holistic approach for the design of safer interactions between motorcyclists and car drivers operating public roads. Several factors appear to influence the way motorcycles are perceived which has played a significant role for their development. Although motorcycles themselves are mechanically stable machines their use in mixed traffic environments can be highly dangerous as a motorcyclist’s inherent degree of conspicuity leaves them unseen by Other Vehicle operators. There are many factors that can have implications on a motorcyclist’s safety; those being a rider’s conspicuity on public roadways, the rider’s ability and confidence level, the size of the machine, the amount of traffic on the road, as well as emerging technologies deployed into the US public roadway model. A better understanding of the necessary design considerations for motorcycle rider safety manifested through a system of products that attempt to make the road a safer place for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists represent a small component of a greater traffic paradigm. Motorcycle capabilities fail to be fully understood by car drivers, placing them in an inherently vulnerable position. By examining how car drivers perceive motorcycles it is suggested that a system be designed that minimizes the risk of accidents involving motorcyclists, while also mitigating the severity of their injuries. This system manifested as a light that mounts to the underside of a motorcyclist’s helmet to be used as an autonomous means to communicate with OV drivers. The system functions during two high risk scenarios; when a car approaches a motorcyclist from the rear and when a car enters the left lane of a motorcyclist. While the device remains untested in real traffic environments its concept questions the realities of US public roadway environments and posits an alternate direction for rider and OV operator safety on future public roadways. This problem served as a case study for challenging current safety protocols and design methods for solving complex problems.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Motorcycles--Equipment and supplies; Motorcycling accidents--Prevention; Motorcycles--Safety measures

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Industrial Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CAD)


Timothy J. Wood

Advisor/Committee Member

Stan Rickel

Advisor/Committee Member

Alex Lobos


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes