Most everyone knows the injury risk involved with riding motorcycles, but what are the most common injuries to worry about if you’re out on the road, and how can you protect yourself from enduring them? This blog answers the question, what is the most common motorcycle injury? It also discusses what causes the most motorcycle accidents and how a motorcycle injury attorney can help you if you have a motorcycle accident.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the cases of more than 1.2 million motorcyclists treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. between 2001 and 2008 after being involved in non-fatal motorcycle accidents. They found that 30 percent of all non-fatal motorcycle injuries occurred to the legs and feet. 22% of non-fatal motorcycle accident injuries occurred to the head and neck.
A similar study by the Advancement of Automotive Medicine showed that those who wore helmets had a decreased risk of sustaining severe injuries and an overall lower number of severe injuries. Another CDC study found that helmets reduced the risk of death in motorcycle accidents by 37% and reduced head injury by 69%.
Some distracted drivers in passenger cars may fail to notice the motorcyclists sharing the road with them. Failure to see motorcycles could cause drivers to swerve into a motorcyclist or rear-end a bike, resulting in a severe motorcycle accident. Any injuries that a motorcyclist suffers could be considered life-threatening or may even be life-altering. If a distracted driver was found liable for the crash, a personal injury attorney could assist in seeking appropriate compensation.
Table of Contents
Common Motorcycle Injuries
There’s no predicting where you might experience injuries if you have a motorcycle accident. However, the most common injuries are as follows:
1. Head Injuries
Because many people neglect to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle, head injuries are among the most common injuries incurred by motorcyclists. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be severe and cause other complications such as seizures, difficulty thinking, concussions, and other issues depending on where in the brain the injury occurs.
2. Road Rash
Road rash happens when people slide across the pavement after they down their motorcycle. If the motorcyclist doesn’t have thick enough material to protect them from the pavement’s friction, they can experience severe skin damage. The skin damage can result in scar tissue and other more severe complications, such as muscle damage.
3. Broken Bones
Broken bones commonly occur in motorcycle accidents. Road rash can scrape so much muscle away from the bone that it breaks, or riders may incur broken bones from the collision with an automobile. The ribs, arms, and legs are some of the most common areas where riders experience broken bones.
4. Spinal Cord Injuries
Like broken bones, spinal injuries occur from downing your motorcycle or colliding with another automobile. Spinal injuries can be severe and even fatal, depending on where they occur. They can also cause paralysis.
5. Muscle Damage
Motorcycle accidents can cause severe muscle damage from injuries such as road rash and compound fractures. They can also cause ligament and tendon damage.
Key Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The most trustworthy authority on motorcycle accidents is NHTSA. They compile annual statistics that help us better understand why motorcycle accidents occur and how those reasons contribute to the types of injuries motorcyclists endure.
The following are crucial statistics compiled by the NHTSA:
Motorcycle Accident Fatalities and Injuries
In 2017, 5,172 fatalities and 89,000 injuries occurred from motorcycle accidents.
Passenger and Rider Fatalities
In the same 2017 study, 94 percent of fatalities were riders, and 6 percent were passengers.
Motorcycle Accident Weather Conditions
The study revealed that weather contributed to motorcycle accidents, finding that 97% of all accidents happened in cloudy conditions, compared to 2% in the rain and 1% in the rain.
Motorcycle Accidents’ Location
The study found that a sizable majority (65%) of accidents occurred at other places besides the intersection, while 35% happened at an intersection. Also, 60% of motorcycle fatalities occurred in urban areas, while 40% occurred in rural areas.
Alcohol and Motorcycle Accidents
Of the 5,172 motorcycle fatalities, 1,357 of them were impaired while driving. That number skyrocketed to 43 percent when analyzing the data among single-vehicle accidents.
Speeding and Motorcycle Crashes
32% of fatal motorcycle crashes involved speeding. Only 18 percent of fatal car crashes, 14 percent of small-truck fatal accidents, and 7 percent of large-truck fatal accidents involved speeding.
Common Motorcycle Accident Causes
There are many causes of motorcycle accidents, but according to National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration data, the most common reasons are speeding and alcohol use. Their data also reveals that 35% of all accidents occur near intersections, suggesting that pedestrians or drivers passing through intersections without thoroughly examining the intersection are also contributing factors.
In their study, The Anatomy of a Motorcycle, the NHTSA found that motorcyclists fail to understand the motorcycle’s potential malfunctions and the motorcycle machinery’s complexity. They designate inexperienced motorcyclists’ “lack of experience or failure to appreciate the motorcycle’s inherent operating characteristics and limitations” as a contributing factor to motorcycle accidents.
How to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents
Control Your Speed
Controlling your speed can significantly reduce your risk of crashing. When you speed, you increase the likelihood that you will lose control of your bike. Additionally, the higher your speed when you crash, the more likely you will sustain severe injuries.
Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
As a motorcycle rider, you must be especially mindful of your surroundings. Car drivers are less likely to pay attention to motorcyclists because they are more used to looking for other automobiles.
Committing to practices such as looking behind you when you stop at an intersection to ensure no one is in danger of running into you can help prevent many crashes. Being ready to pull away at intersections will also help you avoid accidents.
Wearing the appropriate safety equipment can drastically reduce your risk of severe injuries in motorcycle accidents. Wearing a helmet, long, thick pants that cover your entire leg, a thick leather motorcycle jacket, thick boots, and durable gloves will protect you from road rash injuries due to exposed skin.
Conclusion- What Should I Do If I’m Injured In a Motorcycle Accident?
Severe motorcycle accident injuries are especially prevalent because of their high speeds, and riders often collide with larger automobiles. Because motorcycle injuries are common, such as those to the head and spine and broken bones, remaining aware of the potential risks involved in riding a motorcycle can prove the difference between life and death.
Following the correct safety protocol, such as wearing a helmet, following the speed limit, and staying especially aware of the traffic conditions, can help prevent you from sustaining injuries while riding your motorcycle.
If you get into a motorcycle accident, the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm has personal injury attorneys and motorcycle accident attorneys to help. Our skilled team of lawyers will help you seek the compensation you deserve if you sustain an injury at another driver’s negligence.
Contact us today to discuss your case and get started down the correct recovery path so you can get back on the open road. Legal reinforcement is just a phone call away. Call 303-333-7285 to get a free case evaluation.