Throughout history, people have viewed motorcycles as a sense of freedom or rebellion. While motorcycles serve many as a means of cheaper transportation, they are considerably more dangerous than cars.
The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports that motorcyclists are more than 26 times likely to end up in a fatal traffic accident and are more than five times more likely to be injured. This is due to motorcycles not having the same safety features as cars, such as seatbelts or airbags.
According to the NHTSA, the top two reasons for motorcycle accidents are alcohol and speeding. Still, weather conditions and location also play a large role in the majority of motorcycle involved crashes. Intersections are the most commonplace for these accidents to occur due to either riders or vehicle operators not adhering to proper safety when passing through.
Even at low speeds, motorcyclists can sustain serious injuries, the most common being:
- Head injuries : TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) can affect both helmeted and non-helmeted riders and can have long-term side effects following an accident. Seizures, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, and sleep apnea can all be a direct response to TBIs.
- Internal Injuries : Having direct contact with a blunt object during an accident may not necessarily break the skin but can have a tremendous effect on internal organs that may damage or internal bleeding and bruising.
- Road Rash : When a motorcycle rider is involved in a crash, they often make contact with the pavement. The lack of proper gear can cause severe abrasions on the skin, also known as “road rash.” Road rash may be mild in some situations, but other scenarios may require immediate medical attention as the rider may be vulnerable to infection.
- Spinal Cord Injuries : Depending on the severity of the impact and the location, spinal cord injury may occur. Spinal cord injuries may cause numbness or complete paralysis.
- Muscle Damage : Muscle damage is very common in motorcycle accidents. In extreme road rash cases, layers of muscle can be scraped away, and hard impacts may damage muscular tissue.
- Broken Bones : Most motorcycles involved in an accident will fall over. Often, a rider’s leg can become caught underneath the bike, breaking bones due to weight and force. Wrists and arms are also likely to experience bokeh bones or fractures from the rider attempting to break the fall.
While there is little protection that a motorcycle offers to help reduce the severity of an accident, there are some things you can do to avoid or minimize your risk of serious injury. These include wearing a helmet, wearing thick protective clothing, never riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol, following the speed limit and knowing your motorcycle and the traffic rules and guidelines.