What are the most common motorcycle injuries?
Motorcycle riders are at a higher risk of serious injury than those riding in other vehicles. When riding a motorcycle, you are not as visible to drivers on the road and are on a vehicle that is less stable than a car or truck. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that a motorcycle rider is 26 times more likely to die in a traffic collision than passenger vehicle occupants. The NHTSA also states that a motorcycle rider is 5 times more likely to be injured.
Serious injuries are a common part of motorcycle accidents. These injuries can be catastrophic and can become incapacitating. The NHTSA conducted a study that showed that the most fatal and serious injuries happen when the front of the motorcycle is the point of impact in a collision. Here is a list of some of the most common and serious types of injuries related to motorcycle accidents:
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). An impact to the head during a motorcycle accident can have lifelong side effects. Difficultly thinking, focusing, sleeping, seizures, loss of memory, coma and could even results in a permanent disability. Long-term treatment and care may be required.
Spinal Cord Injuries. A spinal injury may result in complete paralysis in one or more parts of the body. Numbness, fractured vertebrae, and herniated discs can also occur. Surgery may be required to fix any damage done to the spinal cord. Most spinal cord injuries are permanent. Often times patients will require help from others to take care of themselves and may need to use a wheelchair or other assistive devices.
Road Rash. When a motorcyclist slides across the pavement after falling off their bike they can experience road rash. Not only is road rash painful, it can get infected if it is not cleaned properly. There are three degrees of road rash that can range from a minor irritation to abrasions and lacerations through the skin. This can lead to permanent damage to the skin and can cause nerve damage as well.
Injuries to lower extremities. The NHTSA studies show that injuries to the lower extremities are sustained in motorcycle accidents more than any other type of injury. Bone fractures and injuries to the legs are the most common.
Internal injuries. Internal bleeding and damage to internal organs is a common injury sustained by riders. This can happen due to something sharp puncturing your skin or from a blunt force that occurs during the accident.
Broken bones. Broken legs, feet, pelvis, rib cages, arms, hands, wrists, and back are very common types of injuries riders can sustain in an accident. Serious broken bones may require implants and surgery in order to heal properly.
Eye and Face injuries. Debris can fly into the eye during a motorcycle crash. An impact could also cause injuries to teeth and the jaw, which could require surgery to fix. These types of injuries are more common is riders without a full-face helmet, like a half shell helmet. The best way to avoid injuries to the eyes and face is to wear a full-face helmet with a face shield. Riding goggles can also help keep debris out of your eyes and reduce the risk of injury if you crash.
Can you get PTSD from a motorcycle accident?
Yes, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a real thing that riders can suffer from after a motorcycle accident. Serious physical injuries are common, but emotional and mental injuries can be overlooked. If you know of someone who may be suffering from PTSD after a motorcycle accident, keep a look out for the following symptoms:
- Recurring flashbacks, dreams, or memories of the accident
- Acting as if the accident is still happening
- Reliving the emotions and feelings they experienced during the motorcycle accident
- Visible stress or anxiety when talking about the motorcycle accident
- Avoiding the location of where the accident took place
- A lack of interest in riding or anything associated with motorcycles
- Loss of interest in activities
- Withdrawn from family and friends
- Unable to express their emotions or feelings of doom and gloom
- Unable to sleep or has sleeping disturbance
- Trouble concentrating
- Seem irritable and have emotional outbursts
- Have trouble concentrating
- Seem to be constantly “on alert”
If these symptoms appear more than three months after a motorcycle accident and last for over a month, seek help. Talk with a doctor or counselor about the best ways to recover from PTSD.
What do you have to wear when riding a motorcycle?
Safety and comfort and two things to keep in mind as you get ready for a ride. Look into buying riding gear that is specifically made to keep you protected while out riding your motorcycle. By wearing protective motorcycle gear, you reduce the chances of being severely injured in the event of an accident. Here is a list of gear that we recommend you wear or carry with you every time you go out for a ride:
- A helmet. The NHTSA shows that riders who wear a helmet have a 37 percent chance of surviving a crash over riders who do not wear a helmet. In Washington state, the law requires that all motorcycle operators and passengers wear a helmet. The helmet must also meet rules adopted by the Washington State Patrol. Helmets must be equipped with either a neck or chin strap that must be fastened securely when the motorcycle is in motion. The exception to this rule is when the vehicle is an antique motor-driven cycle that is licensed as a motorcycle. Your helmet should also have a sticker that shows the helmet is DOT approved.
- Gloves. Wearing gloves while you ride helps protect your hands from inclement weather, bugs, rocks and debris. It will also help protect your hands in the event of a crash. There are both summer and winter glove styles available so that you can always wear gloves no matter what the weather conditions.
- Eye protection. Goggles or glasses will also help protect your eyes from bugs, debris and inclement weather conditions. Be sure to they are shatter resistant and have UV protection. If you wear a full-face helmet, then you do not need to worry about extra eye protection. It is a good idea to bring an extra pair of glasses or goggles along on your ride in case you lose or break a pair.
- Boots. A good pair of boots will protect you from debris out on the road and keep you from getting burns from hot pipes on your motorcycle. We recommend you get boots that have nonskid soles, have a low heel, and can cover up to at least your ankles.
- Jacket. When buying a jacket, make sure you get one with a good material that will protect you in the event of a motorcycle accident. Leather and Kevlar are good materials that are thick and can offer you more protection. Consider a jacket that is a brighter color, so you are more visible to passing drivers. Make sure you try the jacket on while you are sitting on a motorcycle to see if it feels comfortable. You want to make sure the jacket covers your back, has good ventilation, and tightly closes around your wrists and neck. There are jackets out there that have a detachable lining that can offer the right kind of insulation depending on your riding weather conditions.
- Pants. Again, leather, Kevlar, or other synthetic materials are recommended for riding pants. These materials have a higher likelihood of protecting you in the event of a crash. Plastic armor is available in some of the pants sold for motorcyclists. Remember, if you hit the pavement, what do you want to be wearing? We strongly suggest you avoid wearing thin pants or shorts while out riding your motorcycle. The more protection on your legs the better!
- Rain gear. You can find rain gear that is easy to carry with you while out on a ride. Make sure it is comfortable, easy to put on and take off and can easily fit on your motorcycle. Rain gear that is brighter in color is also good to have so you can be seen when visibility is poor.
- NOTE: Clothing reflectors and reflective tape can also be used to help improve your visibility.
Do motorcycle helmets really save lives?
There are risks involved for anyone who rides a motorcycle. It is important to wear safety gear to protect yourself in the event of an accident. One of the most important pieces of safety gear a rider can wear is a motorcycle helmet.
There are several good reasons to wear a helmet while riding. Washington state law requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. You are at risk of getting a ticket if you are pulled over while riding your motorcycle without a helmet. Wearing a helmet will also protect your visions and make it easier for you to see the road, protect you from road debris, keep you safe from the elements, and will reduce your risk of sustaining a serious head injury.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that helmets saved 1,859 lives in 2016. They also show that if all motorcycle riders had worn helmets in 2016, another 802 lives could have been saved. The NHTSA studies have shown that motorcyclists who wear helmets will reduce the risk of death by 37% and the risk of head injury by 69%.
Contact our experienced Washington motorcycle accident attorneys for a free consultation today. Call us at 425-970-9300 to discuss how we can help lift the burden and stress following a serious motorcycle accident injury.