Most frequent injuries in motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them
Motorcycle safety studies the risks and dangers of motorcycling and the approaches to mitigate that risk, focusing on motorcycle design, road design and traffic rules, rider training, and the cultural attitudes of motorcyclists and other road users. Wikipedia
Abrasions and fractures are the most frequent injuries in motorcycle accidents, with the legs being the most affected area of the body. The city is the environment where most accidents occur, and speed, alcohol or drugs, metal barriers and coexistence with other larger vehicles are the leading causes. Not trusting and taking utmost care of the protections always, in any circumstance, is a golden rule since accidents can occur anytime and anywhere.
The body itself is the chassis of the biker. It is a repeated expression, but not because it is hackneyed; it loses importance. For this reason, in addition to driving with caution, it is mandatory to be suitably dressed and wear shoes. “You must always wear gloves, cover all the skin even if it is summer, if possible with padded clothing, do not leave the skin exposed because even the banalest falls cause burns and skin degloving,” advises José Javier Tejada Gallego, surgeon orthopaedic doctor at the University Clinic of Navarra in Madrid.
Urban accidents, the most frequent
Urban accidents are more frequent than road accidents with large displacement motorcycles. “The average profile is a man with an average age of 35 years who goes by scooter around the city”, details Idoya Sanluis Fernández, head of the Emergency Service and doctor of the Traffic Unit of the Hospital Vithas Nuestra Señora de Fátima de Vigo, who also insists on the need not to expose parts of the body when travelling by motorcycle even if it is summer and the excellent weather invites it: “The ideal would be to go with boots, pants and jackets with protection, but it is true that on journeys shorts may be unrealistic, but it is essential always to wear a jacket, long pants and closed shoes”.
The insistence of the experts is endorsed by the data, not only because the city is the environment where most accidents occur but also because of the most common type of injuries, which are abrasions and fractures in the lower and upper extremities.
“Abrasions are very frequent, especially in summer, due to friction with the pavement,” says Sanluis. Around 50% occur in the legs and 30% in the arms and hands, although cases also occur in the face and skull. ” The expert adds, “The severity is linked to the extension, and the main risk is a bacterial superinfection”.
Full recovery, very difficult
According to Tejada, fractures occur very quickly: “The ranking is lower limbs, cervical injuries, upper limbs and thoracoabdominal.” The reason is that the driver is thrown from the motorcycle and falls on these body areas. The surgeon also warns that full recovery is challenging: “There is no perfect resolution; normally, there is a certain degree of sequel”.
Femoral shaft fracture, for example, has a recovery time of approximately 180 days, and lameness, chronic pain, stiffness, or loss of range of motion are possible sequelae. “It is very cumbersome; the recovery period is long and can leave sequels”, adds Sanluis. The rupture of the fibula also requires a prolonged recovery, about 250 days; it may require surgery, and the consequences are similar.
Head injuries are less common than leg and arm fractures but are more serious. In addition, of all head injuries, a third occur in a motorcycle accident even though helmet use is widespread. The head of the Fatima Emergency Department means that half of those of a severe nature “leave brain injuries, which can be paresis, neuropsychological deficit, cognitive problems or behavioural sequelae.”
10% of all spinal cord injuries in motorcycle accidents
Spinal cord injuries are another of the most critical risks that can be transcendental in a person’s life. Statistics indicate that 10% of all spinal injuries occur in a motorcycle accident. Of these, 23% suffer from quadriplegia or paraplegia.
Although it is always associated with car accidents, Sanluis alludes to whiplash as another very possible injury in the case of motorcycles: “Between 30% and 50% of those injured suffer from whiplash.” It is a condition that can lead to cervical pain, headache, limitation of movement, vertigo or stiffness in the arms.
In addition to wearing appropriate protective equipment, slowing down and not driving under the influence of any toxic substance, both experts stress the importance of keeping an eye on other vehicles and wearing an appropriate helmet. In his opinion, the one that provides the most safety is the monobloc full-face helmet because it is more stable and rigid, better safeguarding the skull, jaw and chin.
The head of the Emergency Room and doctor of the Fátima Traffic Unit also offer some recommendations for when an accident occurs: “You don’t have to hold on to the motorcycle; find, if possible, a place where there are no obstacles to fall; release the handlebars, and stick arms and legs to the body because the straight position reduces the risk of fracture”.
Según la Administración Nacional de Seguridad del Tráfico en las Carreteras, es nueve veces más probable que se lesionen cuando conducen una motocicleta que cuando conducen un automóvil. Las lesiones más comunes en los accidentes de motocicleta incluyen cosas como:
- Raspadura o Road Rush
- Fracturas faciales
- Huesos rotos
- Lesiones de los tejidos blandos
- Lesión cerebral traumática
- Lesiones en el cuello
- Lesiones de la médula espinal
Cada una de estas lesiones puede ser increíblemente grave, incluso mortal, y siempre debe buscar atención médica después de un accidente de motocicleta (incluso si se siente bien). Aquí hay un análisis más detallado de cada uno de los principales tipos de lesiones por accidentes de motocicleta.
Raspadura o Road Rush
Scouring – a common term for the cuts and scrapes a rider can get from sliding across the pavement – can be very severe. It can range from minor bruises, cuts, or scrapes to muscle or nerve damage. Scrapes are painful and can also cause permanent scarring. The severity often depends on the driver’s speed and the type of protective equipment the driver was wearing at the time of the accident.
California’s helmet law is in place to prevent the most severe head and face injuries, but facial fractures are still common in motorcycle accidents. It often occurs when a motorcyclist’s face hits the ground or another vehicle. Facial fractures can be incredibly painful – and can cause permanent disfigurement in some cases.
Broken bones are very common in motorcycle crashes and can occur when a motorcyclist strikes the ground or another vehicle. Sometimes the bones break cleanly (or don’t break at all), but sometimes the bones break so severely that they protrude through the skin. Bones can also be crushed when a motorcyclist gets caught between a motorcycle and another object, such as the ground or another vehicle.
Related Article: Which Bones Are Most Likely to Be Broken in a Car Accident?
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries involve muscles, ligaments and tendons, and cartilage. A motorcycle accident can cause soft tissue injuries, either from the rider’s forward momentum when stopping or from the impact of the accident itself.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Even with a helmet, a traumatic brain injury is possible in a motorcycle accident. TBI occurs when the brain hits the inside of the skull, which often happens at a sudden stop. So even if the skull never makes direct contact with the pavement or other
object, the motorcyclist may suffer a traumatic brain injury. Sometimes TBI is slow to manifest, which means you may not know you’ve had a brain injury until long after the accident. Because these injuries can be so severe (they can even cause permanent brain damage), you must be seen by a medical professional immediately after a bicycle accident, even if you feel fine at the time.
Most frequent injuries in motorcycle accidents and how to avoid them