Why More Motorcycle Crashes Happen During Supermoons

Motorcycle rider in Utah with full moon in background
USA, Utah, Monument Valley travelstock44 / LOOK-foto

The bewitching nature of a full moon sitting heavy and bright in the night sky is enough to make any motorcyclist itch for a night ride. But the lure of this celestial phenomenon can have dire consequences for throttle jockeys—even worse if it’s a supermoon, according to research published in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers investigated nighttime motorcycle crashes in the U.S. using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They pinpointed all fatalities (about 13,000 over the study’s timeframe) that occurred from 4p.m. to 8a.m. between 1975 to 2014. There were 494 full moons and 65 super moons overall.

They found riders were more apt to die in accidents on the night of a supermoon than at any other point in the weeks before and after. Specifically, 494 fatal crashes happened on full moon nights and 702 occurred on supermoon nights. It amounts to roughly two additional deaths, or a 22 percent spike, compared to control nights.

Needless to say you should take some extra care to keep your eyes glued to the asphalt.

“Additional strategies while riding might include wearing a helmet, activating headlights, scanning the road surface for defects, respecting the weather, being wary of left-turning vehicles, obeying traffic laws and forgoing stunts,” authors Donald Redelmeier and Eldar Shafir wrote in the study.

Be wary. The next supermoons are set to take over the sky on January 2, 2018.