Even if you know everything there is to know about motorcycle safety, it never hurts to review. Knowing the top 5 injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident can help you prepare in case you or a loved one is injured. The best way to protect your future is to take the proper precautions BEFORE an accident occurs. We all know that auto accidents are very dangerous, but motorcycle accidents are even more life threatening.
You’ve head it a thousand times, but the single most important thing to do when riding to avoid a head injury is to wear a helmet. It is the only thing that stands between your head/brain and the pavement. Many riders have saved their own lives simply by wearing a helmet and many have unnecessarily died for not wearing a helmet. Check out this document from the NHSTA for some more detailed data on helmet use and head injuries. If you incurred any type of head injury, you should visit a hospital immediately. Swelling of the brain and concussions are nothing to take lightly and the symptoms aren’t always easily apparent. All head injuries should be closely monitored by a medical professional.
Neck injuries are also very common when in a motorcycle accident. With no frame and seat belt to help absorb the impact, motorcyclists are very susceptible to whiplash and other debilitating neck injuries. A neck injury can cause paralysis and potentially be life threatening in of itself. It’s imperative to protect both your head and neck to mitigate the risk of the #1 most common motorcycle injury. Check out this quick video if you don’t know what type of helmet to purchase.
Road Rash and Skin Damage
Road rash is when an injury is sustained from sliding across cement or gravel after an accident. This injury isn’t just a scrape, bruise, or laceration. This is a serious injury that needs to be taken just as seriously. When a body slides across pavement without proper protection, it can cause long term damage including infections, loss of skin, nerve damage, and more. If you are involved in an accident and suffering from road rash, you need to get it looked at by a professional. It will need to be cleaned and treated in order to make sure the damage doesn’t require surgery and so the injury doesn’t start an infection. You will most likely be given antibiotics to help fight off the potential infection.
While preventing road rash 100% is not possible, proper protection can reduce the seriousness of the injury and sometimes prevent it altogether. Leather is by far the best material for protection, but there are many other fabrics that work to reduce the risk of road rash. In fact, many clothing companies now produce fabric specifically designed for this very purpose. Gloves, jackets, kneepads, and elbow pads are also all very helpful preventing road rash.
Permanent Muscle Damage
If you have never experienced muscle damage before, you probably take for granted the full functionality of all your muscles. A severe muscle injury is very painful and it can affect your mobility for the rest of your life. Preventing muscle damage is very similar to preventing road rash. Wearing protective clothing is the best way to reduce the risk of injury. Many riders also fail to seek medical attention for a muscle injury. Most assume that it will get better on it’s own, but that is not always the case. The sooner you see a medical professional, the better your chances of making the injury short term.
Another muscle that many riders fail to protect is the ear drum. While it may not look tough, wearing ear plugs can save your hearing and prevent you from becoming deaf. Many people don’t realize that wearing a helmet can actually make noises louder and increases the risk of ear damage. Obviously, you need to hear a little bit to safely drive, so it’s recommended that you wear ear plugs that reduce the noise, but not eliminate the noise altogether.
This is a severe injury that is sustained when a motorcyclist lands on his or her arm during an accident. Unlike automobiles, a motorcycle does not have a metal frame designed to keep you inside the vehicle during a crash. Many times, riders are thrown from the motorcycle causing bikers arm or the bike falls on its side and the rider uses their arm to brace the fall. The natural instinct is to use your arms to reduce the impact to the rest of your body. Unfortunately, your arm is not capable of withstanding this type of force and it can cause very serious injuries. Besides the obvious impact injury, the biggest risk is actually nerve damage. Nerve damage usually lasts forever and leaves the victim suffering in pain for the rest of their lives. Robust jackets and elbow pads can be worn to lessen the damage, but nothing will prevent 100% of biker arm injuries.
Yet another very common injury to riders and passengers in a motorcycle accident is a leg injury. Fortunately, leg injuries rarely result in death, but they can be painful and disabling. The most common leg injuries included broken or shattered bones, deep cuts, road rash, and severe bruising. Just like many of the other injuries included in this list, proper clothing and other protection such as knee pads and strong boots can help prevent these types of injuries but will not eliminate the risk entirely. Safe driving and taking the extra precautions can be the difference between a severe leg injury and no injury at all.
There is no doubt that every time you drive a motorcycle that you are taking somewhat of a risk. Taking the proper precautions and protecting yourself can go a long way in preventing and reducing injuries. Another overlooked aspect is the friends that you are riding with. Inexperienced riders make it more dangerous for everyone one the road, especially if you are riding together. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, its very important that you visit a medical professional and get checked out. If you are able, take as many pictures of the scene that you can. You should wear safety gear EVERYTIME you ride, but riding should also be FUN!