Human-Motorcycle Interaction (HMI): Research issues in motorcycle ergonomics and rider human factors

Tuesday 23/02/2010 1:00pm-2:00pm
Location: Brunel Design, Tower A, TA049
Speaker: Dr Alex W Stedmon, MErgS, CPsychol, FRSA

Riding any powered two wheel vehicle is a very skilled task and larger motorcycles, in particular, are technically complex, high performance machines. The motorcycle and rider can be understood in terms of an interactive system operating within a very demanding safety critical environment. Understanding this system interaction is what underpins motorcycle ergonomics and rider human factors. Traditional human factors has focussed on ‘human-machine interaction’ (HMI) and in this presentation the term is adapted to focus more specifically on rider human factors. In many ways motorcycle ergonomics is still synonymous with rider comfort and ease of use for control systems. However, apart from the physical design of the motorcycle, thermal comfort, or why some motorcycles are more suited to particular riders based on their anthropometrics, motorcycle ergonomics also encompasses aspects such as:

• workload – how much physical and mental effort does it take to ride in different conditions?

• situation awareness – how aware is the motorcyclist of what’s going on around them?

• vigilance – how quickly can the motorcyclist process information from the motorcycle, other traffic and the general environment?

• perception of danger and risk taking behaviour – how and when does a rider make decisions about their riding style?

Motorcycle ergonomics is an exciting and developing research area. This presentation will explore key research questions and discuss the feasibility of conducting research in real world and simulated environments. A key message will focus on the importance of publishing more research findings, gaining industry support from manufacturers, road safety organisations, motorcycle media and, more fundamentally, the riders themselves.