Harry Hurt dead at 81

hurtreport240.jpg The man who might be the greatest safety influence ever for motorcyclists has died — and it was not in a motorcycle crash.

Harry Hurt, who wrote the Hurt Report about 30 years ago and worked on development of the modern motorcycle helmet, died Sunday in a California hospital of a heart attack that was a complication resulting from back surgery. He was 81.

The Hurt Report, which was published in 1981, looked at the causes of 900 motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles in 1976 and 1977. Through careful analysis and on-the-scene investigation, Hurt produced a book that explained motorcycle collisions in a useful way. He was the principle investigator on the project, and was the man who told us that speed is not important in most crashes and that about 45 percent of all motorcycle collisions involve car drivers who cut off the motorcyclist.

And he told us that helmets are effective in preventing brain injuries and deaths. After earning his masters degree in aeronautical engineering, Hurt joined a project that developed the idea of the modern helmet.

He was a motorcyclist for many years.

For an excellent obituary see the Los Angeles Times and for more on Hurt see the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame article.


  1. Motorcyclists owe a debt og gratitude to Dr. Hurt for his immense contribution to making motorcycling safer, and for dispelling myths and prejudices about motorcycling.


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