Whether you are on a long cruise on the Pacific Coast Highway, meeting up with fellow motorcyclists, or you’re just out for a ride around town, motorcycles can be a lot of fun. Given that motorcycles are difficult to spot, those who choose to operate one are taking a great risk. Unfortunately, they don’t offer riders any form of protection from other motorists or hazards of the road, which means that those involved in motorcycle accidents may suffer from substantial injuries. Unlike other types of vehicular accidents, motorcyclists are prone to injuries all over their body, even if they use personal protection such as a helmet or specially made clothing.
Understanding the most common types of injuries suffered from motorcycle accidents can help you not only protect yourself but also understand why vehicular safety for those riding a motorcycle or those sharing the road with one is so important.
The Most Common Motorcycle Injury
The most common type of motorcycle injury is road rash. While this type of injury could be minor, it is often very severe and can cause a significant amount of pain, often requiring medical attention. Road rash is a specific form of skin abrasion occurring when a motorcyclist is forced from their motorcycle, and the force of the accident or forward momentum of the motorcycle causes the rider to skid along the pavement. The resulting injuries can range from mild skin irritations to significant infections and even nerve damage. To reduce road rash, riders are encouraged to wear special clothing designed to cover the skin, protecting the rider from such injuries.
Other Types of Motorcycle Injuries
There are many other types of motorcycle injuries that riders and passengers can suffer if they are involved in an accident. Other common injuries include:
- Bone fractures or breaks. Injuries to the skeletal structure are common, particularly in the limbs that people instinctively use to brace for impacts. These include forearms, shins, and femora.
- Injuries to legs and feet. Some types of motorcycle accidents occur when the motorcycle itself simply falls to one side or the other. These types of accidents easily injure the legs and feet of the rider or riders.
- Injuries to the head and neck. Even for riders who wear helmets correctly and follow posted traffic signs, accidents on a motorcycle can leave one prone to head and neck injuries. Those who choose not to wear a helmet are making a decision that could result in fatal injuries, facial disfigurement, and brain damage.
- Injuries to the spine. While the entire spine is prone to injury in motorcycle accidents, the thoracic region is the most commonly injured area of the spine. Any injury to the spine can result in permanent damage, including partial or total paralysis of the body. In some cases, these types of injuries leave riders with long-term chronic pain, damage to the nervous system, and even death.
- Torso injuries. The torso is often exposed to high rates of injury in motorcycle accidents. Lacerations, broken ribs, and other types of severe damage can be sustained to a rider’s torso. These injuries can include lacerations to vital organs, such as the heart or lungs, depending on the circumstances of the accident. While strongly encouraged, protective clothing cannot always protect riders.
- Injuries to the arms and hands. Like other broken bones, these injuries are mostly caused by instinctive reflexes in which the rider throws out their hands to brace themselves from the impact of the accident. In addition to the risk of broken bones, these injuries can result in nerve damage, arm paralysis, and even severed fingers. Protective equipment, such as gloves and clothing made for motorcyclists, can help reduce the impact on the arms and hands in an accident, but injuries may still occur.
- Traumatic brain injuries. These are the most serious types of injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents. These injuries can not only result in paralysis in the body, but they can also cause severe lifestyle deficiencies, including impacting the ability to communicate or care for oneself. Sometimes, they may require long-term and permanent healthcare. Helmets are the most common protective device riders use to help avoid such injuries.
This list does not address all the types of injuries motorcyclists are subject to, but they do represent the most common and the most severe. While no injury is completely preventable, following traffic laws and wearing protective clothing and equipment can help motorcyclists and their passengers avoid severe and potentially permanent injuries.
Q: What Type of Motorcycle Injury Occurs Most Often?
A: Road rash is the most common type of motorcycle injury. These types of injuries are the result of accidents in which the rider is thrown from the motorcycle and skids along the pavement or other surfaces. They can cause skin abrasions or nerve damage. Protective clothing can help reduce the impacts of such injuries.
Q: Where Do 70% of Motorcycle Accidents Occur?
A: Nearly three-fourths of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. These accidents are often the result of a vehicular driver who fails to see the approaching motorcycle due to its small size. Even if the motorcycle is seen by other drivers, its small stature can make it difficult to determine the speed it is traveling and, thereby, lead them to turn into the path of the oncoming motorcycle.
Q: What Are the Two Most Frequent Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
A: The two most common causes of motorcycle accidents are:
- Oncoming vehicles turning left in front of the motorcycle
- A vehicle merging into a lane occupied by a motorcycle
Due to their size, it is both difficult to judge the speed of oncoming motorcycles and clearly see one. Motorcycles traveling in neighboring lanes are often hidden in a blind spot.
Q: Which Body Part Is Most Affected in Motorcycle Accidents?
A: While injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents can occur anywhere on the body, the lower extremities, specifically the legs and feet, are the most commonly injured. Motorcycle accidents often result in the motorcycle itself falling onto the rider, which can crush, puncture, or otherwise injure this area of the body.
Motorcycle Legal Advice
Regardless of the type of injury that you may suffer in a motorcycle accident, your injuries could be life-altering and require long-term medical attention. They may even leave your loved ones mourning your loss to fatal injuries. Taking the appropriate steps to protect yourself from not only the hazards of the road but other drivers can increase your chances of surviving an accident and minimizing your injuries. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, or have questions about your accident, let the personal injury team at The Ward Firm help answer your questions today.