Riding a motorcycle is both exciting and dangerous. According to new data released by B.C. Coroners Service, the number of motorcyclists who died on British Columbia roads spiked 50% in 2018. Most crashes, understandably, took place in summer when driving conditions are fair. But contrary to what you may believe, it is not always the rider’s fault. The injuries sustained in these accidents range from minor to severe. Some are beyond the rider’s control, while others could be prevented by taking a few simple safety measures.
If you are planning to hop on your steel horse, it is important to learn about the most common motorcycle accident injuries and how to prevent them.
Top Motorcycle Accident-Related Injuries and How to Avoid Them
1) Head Injuries
Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to head injuries than drivers because they don’t have the protection of the surrounding vehicle. Head injuries are one of the most common causes of death in motorcycle accidents. This includes concussion (memory loss and/or loss of consciousness), cracked skulls (bleeding from ears, nose or eyes; slurred speech), facial trauma (soft tissue injuries, cracked facial bones) and brain damage. Almost any of these can prove fatal. The single most effective way to avoid head injuries in a motorcycle crash is to wear a helmet.
Wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle or motorcycle is mandatory in many provinces. In fact, if you file a lawsuit to claim accident compensation, your personal injury lawyer will have to prove that you were not at fault and were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. However, many daredevils looking for an adventure choose not to wear a helmet and end up risking their lives. If you don’t want to sustain a traumatic brain injury after a violent motorcycle crash, wear a helmet. Just make sure it fits because an ill-fitted one won’t protect you in an accident.
If you are still not convinced that wearing a helmet can save your life, watch this video.
2) Road Rash
Road rash is a skin injury caused by contact with the road. In a motorcycle accident, it occurs when the rider slides across the pavement after being thrown from their bike. As a result, skin can be scraped off and debris from the road can enter the motorcyclist’s body through the fresh wounds, resulting in serious infection. In the worst cases, not just skin but also fat and muscles can be scraped away to reveal bone, requiring skin grafting or reconstructive surgery.
The extent of road rash depends on the motorcyclist’s speed at the time of impact and the type of clothing they are wearing. To get maximum protection from road rash and reduce the severity of skin injuries compared to regular clothing, it is advisable to wear leather biker gear including jackets, boots and elbow pads.
3) Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries
Neck and spinal cord injuries are related to head injuries. It is generally caused when a motorcycle is struck from behind. While wearing a helmet can protect your head from an impact, a large force can still cause injuries to your neck and spinal cord, with possibly serious consequences. These types of injuries can have temporary or permanent effects, including broken collar bones, whiplash, paralysis or death.
There is no way to completely prevent neck and spinal cord injuries. However, wearing airbag vests provides some protection and can transform a major impact into a minor one. Better to have strains and sprains than brakes and death. But make sure these injuries are treated immediately.
4) Broken Bones
Not surprisingly, broken bones are common, non-fatal motorcycle accident injuries. They especially affect arms, legs, hips, feet and wrists, and are usually caused when the rider hits the ground. This type of hard landing leads to:
- Broken arms
- Fractured fingers
- Twisted ankles
- Torn knee ligaments
- Pelvic fractures
- Fractured ribs
- Dislocated hip joints
- Broken legs
These injuries are not as severe as head and spinal cord injuries but can have dangerous consequences if not treated properly. Lack of immediate medical care can cause organ perforation, internal bleeding and lacerations to the legs that may require amputation.
Most of your body is vulnerable to damage in case of a motorcycle accident. So, it is advisable that you polish your riding skills and have plenty of hands-on experience to avoid broken bones. And be sure to wear protective gear like kneepads, boots and a leather jacket. Prevention is, after all, better than cure.
Additional Tips to Prevent Injuries
- Brush up on your riding skills every few years with a riding safety course.
- Practice safe riding, i.e., no drinking, no risky maneuvers and limited riding after dark.
- Ride at a pace that matches your ability to react.
- Wear motorcycle gloves with palm sliders to reduce impact on your hands should you fall to the ground during an accident. Nerves in your hand may be affected otherwise.
When riding a motorcycle, your priority should be following traffic rules and wearing protective gear to prevent accidents. Precautions greatly reduce the risk of an accident but does not eliminate it, as you have no control over the actions of others. If you are unfortunate enough to get into a motorcycle accident, consult a personal injury lawyer to fight for the compensation you rightfully deserve.