Towards Safer Motorcycling in Dhaka Metropolitan Area

Paper ID: TE-064
International Conference on Recent Innovation in Civil Engineering for Sustainable Development
Department of Civil Engineering
DUET - Gazipur, Bangladesh
Towards Safer Motorcycling in Dhaka Metropolitan Area
M. M. Hoque1, M. M. Chowdhury2, S. M. R. Rashedi3
Motorcycling is becoming increasingly popular in Bangladesh. There are nearly 1.2 million registered
motorcycles in Bangladesh which represent around 54% of total registered motor vehicles. In Metropolitan
Dhaka, there are nearly 360,000 registered motorcycles, accounting for 40% of total registered motor
vehicles. The number of registered motorcycles in Dhaka has increased from nearly 120,000 in 2003 to
360,000 in 2015 (up to June), an increase of nearly 200% with fleet growing at a faster rate than other
motorized vehicles. Motorcycle crashes are a growing problem claiming over 20 deaths in Metropolitan
Dhaka and over 200 deaths in Bangladesh annually. Actual number of motorcyclists‟ death is estimated to
be much higher, up to five times. Police reported crash statistics show that crashes involving motorcycles
have been increasing from 3.7% in 1998 to 13.2% in 2013 in Metropolitan Dhaka. Most of the crashes
occurred on road links (59%) and at intersections (38%). More than half of the intersection motorcycle
crashes occurred at T-junctions (52.6%), followed by cross-intersections (31.4%), and roundabout (12.4%).
Nearly 40% of motorcycle crashes involve fatalities. The predominant crash types are rear-end (55.4%), hit
pedestrians (18.8%) and head-on (12%). Motorcycle crashes frequently occurred in day time (63.4%) and
nearly 67% of crashes are associated with the young age group of 26-40 years. Lack of adequate road
safety provisions, unsafe driving practices, inappropriate uncontrolled speeding, non-wearing of helmets
etc. have made motorcyclists one of the prime vulnerable road user groups in Bangladesh. With the
introduction of some new road infrastructures facilities, such as exclusive motorcycle lanes on trunk roads
in cities, application of traffic engineering and management measures, strict enforcement of traffic rules
and wearing of helmets, motorcycle crashes and casualties can be prevented effectively. This paper
discusses the aspects of motorcycle mobility and safety, risk factors associated with motorcyclists and
motorcycle rider‟s behavior. The challenges and opportunities of improving motorcycle safety are also
discussed in this paper.
Keywords: Dhaka Metropolitan; Motorcycle crashes; Motorcycle safety; Motorcyclist.
1. Introduction
In Metropolitan Dhaka, road crashes and injuries are now a growing and serious problem. Road
crashes claim many lives and injuries every year. Comparatively high risks are experienced by
vulnerable road users comprising the pedestrians, the cyclists and the motorcyclists.
Motorcyclists are facing extreme safety hazards due risky maneuverability and speeding. The
increasing number of motorcycle crashes gives the road safety a matter of great concern in
Bangladesh and also in Metropolitan Dhaka. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the possible
countermeasures to prevent the increasing rate of motorcycle crashes. The identification of such
preventive measures requires an accurate and systematic analysis of crashes and casualties data
involving motorcycles. This paper deals with the investigation of motorcycle crash characteristics
and safety improvement options for motorcyclists in Metropolitan Dhaka.
Prof. Dr. Md. Mazharul Hoque, Dean, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Professor, Department of Civil
Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
Md. Messel Chowdhury, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
S. M. Rahat Rashedi, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
2. High Growth Rate of Motorcycles
The trends of motorcycles growth along with total registered motor vehicles in Metropolitan
Dhaka are shown in Figure 1. Table 1 show that the number of total registered motor vehicles
increases from 516,912 in 2009 to 896,193 in 2015 (up to June). The number of motorcycles has
also increased from 179,383 to 356,324 over the same period, demonstrating a rapid increase of
motorcycles. The higher share of motorcycles in traffic stream and their indiscriminate use on
roads have resulted in a serious safety problem.
Table-1. Number of Total Registered
Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles in Dhaka
Fig. 1. Percentage of Motorcycles of All
Vehicles in Dhaka
3. Vulnerability of Motorcycles
Evidence suggests that motorcyclists are up-to 50 times more likely to be killed than car drivers,
this figure is considered per mile travelled, and they are also twice as likely as pedal cyclists, the
next most vulnerable vehicle group (Source: trend analysis of
motorcycles over the last few years shows that motorcycle crashes have increased from 3.7% in
1998 to 13.2% in 2013 in DMP as shown in Figure 2.
Fig. 2. Increasing Trends of Motorcycle
Crashes in DMP Year Wise
Fig. 3. Reported Motorcycle Crashes and
Casualties in Metropolitan Dhaka
4. Motorcycle Crash Characteristics in Metropolitan Dhaka
Significant under-reporting of crashes limits proper crash analysis to be carried out towards
determining the actual societal and humanitarian impacts of road traffic crashes. A study from
2002 estimated that only 49% of the fatal crashes were reported while WHO has estimated it to
be several times higher [3]. Nevertheless, based on the police reported crash database some
striking features of motorcycle crash characteristics are briefly discussed.
4.1 Motorcycle Crashes and Casualties
The trends of motorcycle crashes and casualties are shown in Figure 3. During the last few years,
the fatalities have increased due to motorcycle crashes. The number of motorcycle deaths in 2013
was 22, which is more than double of the number in 1998. However the actual number of deaths
should be much higher at least four times the number officially reported.
4.2 Motorcycle Crashes by Location and Collision Types
Distribution of motorcycle crashes by junction types and collision types is shown in Figure 4 and
5 respectively. Most of the crashes occurred on road links (59%) and at intersections (38%). More
than half of the intersection motorcycle crashes occurred at T-junctions (52.6%), followed by
cross-intersections (31.4%), and roundabout (12.4%). Nearly 40% of motorcycle crashes involve
fatalities. The predominant crash types are rear-end (55.4%), hit pedestrians (18.8%) and head-on
Fig. 4. Motorcycle Crashes by Location in
Metropolitan Dhaka (1998-2013)
Fig. 5. Motorcycle Crashes by Collision
Types in Metropolitan Dhaka (1998-2013)
5. Field Observations of Motorcyclists in
Dhaka Metropolitan
5.1 Speed of motorcycle at primary roads in
To find the relationship between motorcycle
crashes and speed, speed of motorcycles were
collected at eight different primary roads in
Dhaka City and these locations are Airport
road, Banani bus stand area, Tejgaon
industrial area, Farmgate, Mirpur 10 (Begum
Rokeya Shoroni to Senpara) road, College
gate (Mirpur road), Kalabagan to Shukrabad
road, Hare road (beside Ramna park) and
Kakrail road. Figure 6 represents the speed
data collected during the field observations.
Fig. 6. Speed of Motorcycles on Primary
Roads in Metropolitan Dhaka
Analyzing the crash data it was found that
number of killed or severe injured (KSI)
motorcycle crashes increase as the speed of
motorcycles increase on different roads most
of the time but there are some exceptions as
well. So there is a correlation between number
of KSI motorcycle crashes and speed. Figure
7 shows the correlation equation is: y =
Fig. 7. Number of KSI Crashes by Speed on
Primary Roads in Metropolitan Dhaka
0.2782x + 1.5225 and the R² value is 0.44. So they are moderately correlated. As the R² value is
closer to unity, the better is the correlation.
Fig. 8. Summary of Questionnaire Survey
5.2 Questionnaire survey to identify risk factors in DMP
A questionnaire survey was conducted among 203 motorcyclists to get information about their
profiles and behavioral habits which include the following information of motorcyclists:
 Most of the motorcyclists were within the age group 26-30 years which comprises 34%
of motorcyclists.40.9% of total motorcyclists were service holders and 34% were
students. 54.6% motorcycle riders use their motorcycles as a transport mode for going
from and coming back to their residents.
 About 75% motorcyclists were found to wear safety helmets. Non-wearing of helmet by
pillion passengers was very significant, 86 percent.
 29% motorcyclists did not have driving license.33% motorcyclists are less experienced
(< 2 years) and 34% motorcyclists have experience of two to five years.
 60% motorcyclists experienced crashes and among the crash experienced motorcyclists,
45.2% had crash once during driving and 34.7% experienced it twice.76% motorcyclists
had minor injury due to crashes and 24% were hospitalized.
 Most of the motorcycle crashes (27.1%) occurred due to collision with rickshaw. 20.3%
accidents occurred due to collision with car and 17.8% motorcycles collided with
pedestrians during crashes.
6. Risk Factors Associated with Motorcyclists in Dhaka Metropolitan Area
6.1 Road environment factors
 At Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Avenue (Tejgaon area), Airport road and College Gate
(Mirpur road), we have found some roadway hazards such as wave of bitumen, potholes
etc. These uneven roadway conditions are safety hazards for motorcyclists.
 Poor Drainage Facility at Airport road and College gate road.
 Illegal parking is found at road side at Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Avenue (Tejgaon area),
Banani bus stand area and College gate (Mirpur road). No provision for emergency
parking as well.
 Road marking is either faded away or not visible at all at Airport road, College gate and
Farmgate. No road sign could be found at most of the road sections.
 No barrier at median and footpath at College gate.
6.2 Pedestrian safety related factors
 At some places, footpaths are broken and occupied by hawkers.
 At Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Avenue (Tejgaon area) and College gate (Mirpur road),
crossing facility could not be found throughout the sections. Though there are footpaths
and several foot over bridges at the Airport road and Banani bus stand area, pedestrians
still try to cross roads at intersections and midblocks. Mediansare broken at some places
which cause safety hazards for pedestrians to cross roads at those places.
6.3 Vehicular and driver’s behavioral factors
 At Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Avenue (Tejgaon area) and College gate (Mirpur road), nonmotorized vehicles are allowed to run along with other vehicles. So there exist mixed
traffic condition with interaction between motorcycle and NMV.
 Airport road and Banani bus stand area roads have motorcycle speed greater than our
computed 85th percentile speed (39 kmph).
 There is a tendency to change lanes by motorcyclists at all road sections in our study area.
7. Measures to Improve Motorcycle Safety at Primary Roads in Dhaka Metropolitan Area
For motorcycle safety improvements, a series of remedial measures are needed by the combination of
engineering, enforcement and behavioral measures across four areas of Safe System. The Safe System
action areas are Safe roads and roadsides, Safe speed, Safe vehicles and Safe road use [3]. The
following priority measures are of paramount importance to improve safety of motorcyclists:
 Being two wheelers, motorcyclists are more susceptible to difficulties and hazards
created by the roadway conditions. The irregularities of the surface should be removed
and potholes should be repaired properly. Adoption and application of motorcycle
friendly road building, repair and maintenance standards and procedures e.g. Austroads
traffic engineering guidelines regarding motorcycles – Austroads (1999).
 Discourage excessive and inappropriate speeding behavior by motorcycle like speed
bumps or humps can be introduced for speed control of motorcycles.
 The strict enforcement of safety helmet wearing, lane maintaining, speed controlling etc.
need to be ensured for thorough immediate integrated programs. Safety helmets have
significantly reduced head injuries.
Promotion of measures to increase motorcycle conspicuity such as daytime running lights,
motorcycle colors, including fluorescence or modifications and rider clothing.
Exclusive or inclusive lane for motorcycle needs to provide to prevent interaction among
motorcycle, NMV, passenger private car and other heavy vehicles. Motorcyclists should
maintain lane while driving.
Proper road traffic signs should be installed and road marking should be visible from
very far by the motorcyclists. Medians should be repaired at the broken places. Footpaths
should be free from all kinds of hawkers and construction materials.
Pedestrian crossing facility needs to be provided like zebra crossing, foot over bridge.
Illegal parking should be strongly prohibited by proper law enforcement. There should
also be provision for proper parking facility.
Taking into account the proper licensing, training, environmental and socio-economic all
factors, a rapid, safe, convenient, comfortable, and environmentally compatible road
environment might be ensured.
Fig. 9. Physical Separation for Motorcycles
Fig. 10. Speed Bumps or Humps for
8. Conclusions
Motorcycle has become an integrated part of the traffic system offering certain benefits over
other modes of transport; consequently, they need to be properly integrated into mobility plans
and safety strategies. A safe system approach needs to be proposed for improving motorcycle
mobility and safety in developing countries like Bangladesh; it could be more efficient to change
crash and injury outcomes by implementing a range of interventions, including road users, the
infrastructure, the vehicle and the system as a whole, i.e. their interactions. Engineering safety on
roads is clearly a priority issue and motorcycle accidents cannot be prevented until safety
treatments are built on the road infrastructure. In this paper a number of factors influencing
motorcycles casualty risks are discussed and some effective road infrastructure, engineering,
behavioral and enforcement measures are briefly highlighted. Greater understanding of the
underlying factors associated with motorcyclist‟s risk is a critical step in developing strategies,
policies and effective measures and thereby making motorcycling a more viable and safe mode of
transportation in Bangladesh.
9. Acknowledgement
The work presented in this paper is a part of the research work carried out at the Department of
Civil Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). The opinion
and views expressed in this paper are those of the authors.
10. References
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Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering, BUET.
Hoque, M.M., and Mahmud, S.M.S. (2009a), “Road Safety Engineering Challenges in
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Bairgi, B. K., Hoque, M. M. (2012), “A Study of Motorcycle, 1st Accide International
Conference on Advances in Civil Engineering 2012 (ICACE 2012), CUET, Chittagong,
Bangladesh, December 2012.
Hoque, M.M., Hossain, M.S., Rahman M.A., Islam S.M.A.B.A. (2014), “Safer
Motorcycling and Safer Roads: The Context of Bangladesh”, International Conference
Proceedings on “South East Asia Road Safety Summit (SEARSS)”, Bali, Indonesia.
Hurt, H.H., Ouellet, J.V and Thorn, D.R. (1981), "Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors
and Identification of Countermeasures", Volume 1: Technical Report, January, Traffic
Safety Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
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