Regardless of where you stand on them, there are obvious benefits to using a motorcycle. A feeling of freedom on the road. Better gas mileage than cars. That certain "cool" factor is undeniable. But the downsides are a factor too, and bad motorcycle wrecks can lead to a range of physical and medical problems.
What are some of the most common injuries, though? What are the risks, and are there treatment options for someone in recovery? Are these just isolated cases, or could it happen to you, too?
Join us, today, as we break down seven of the most common motorcycle accident injuries, so you can be prepared in the event of an accident.
Riding your motorcycle without a helmet isn't just dangerous - it's an immediate threat to your life. Florida law allows motorcyclists to travel without a helmet for protection. One look at the numbers, though, should be enough to convince you to helmet up.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has said that a head injury is more likely to kill than anywhere else on the body. This makes riding without a helmet the single most common factor when it comes to fatal bike accidents.
A helmet may not be necessary according to state law, but a closer look at Florida's emergency rooms should be enough motivation.
In addition to head injuries, it should be noted that the face and eyes are also at risk during a motorcycle injury, especially without a helmet. Dust and gravel could lead to permanent damage and even blindness in an accident. And road rash on the face is unpleasant and can permanently disfigure a biker.
Of course, you don't need to come off of your motorcycle to injure yourself in an accident. One of the most common injuries on a bike comes from being hit from behind and, typically, staying put.
Whiplash is a real and very serious injury that affects hundreds of people every year. A quick, solid strike to the back wheel of your motorcycle causes your head to jolt forward on a neck attached to your very stationary body. The result is pain and swelling in your neck and, also, the base of your skull.
Bikers thrown backward in a crash may also strike the back of their skulls, creating similar neck trauma even through a regulation helmet. Your head may stay completely unaffected, and an injury to your neck could cause spinal cord damage.
In extreme motorcycle injuries, this may result in partial or even total paralysis.
When an arm or a leg is dragged or scrapped along concrete at high speeds, the resultant injury is colloquially referred to as "road rash". Covering portions of skin in open wounds, welts, and blisters, the red mass could resemble a much less serious rash if you squint your eyes.
But road rash is serious. This injury can cause abrasions so severe that skin grafts are needed to prevent infections and potential nerve damage. Septic shock is a possibility which, if left untreated, could eventually lead to death.
Foot and Leg Fractures
In the unpleasant world of motorcycle accident injuries, the most common type involves trauma to either the legs or feet. With a biker's lower extremities in such close proximity to the ground below, breaks and fractures are almost to be expected in an accident. This goes doubly for if a bike falls on top of its owner during an accident.
Injuries may include:
- broken legs
- broken feet
- twisted ankles
- torn knee ligaments
Riders may also suffer lacerations to the leg. In extreme cases, these may require amputation to stop the bleeding.
At high speeds (or if you collide with someone else who is traveling at a high speed), it can be easy to go airborne during an accident. There's no fool-proof way for an untrained person to land during this. It's common to find yourself in some serious trouble, regardless of what you do.
Bikers will often try to brace or protect themselves with their arms out in front of them, leading to any number of arm injuries on impact. A rough landing can lead to:
- broken arms
- torn rotator cuffs
- broken elbows
- finger fractures
- nerve damage
Because it's natural to put your arms out to protect yourself from harm, the arms are often the first part a motorcyclist will injure in an accident.
Torso and Pelvic Trauma
Once a biker has come off of their vehicle, they'll typically hit the road beneath them at speed. If they roll, there are a lot of implied injuries that come along with that. You'll see these manifested in the torso and pelvic areas, with injuries often requiring extensive recovery.
A fractured pelvis or dislocated hip will not only need lengthy recovery but also likely physical therapy to regain mobility. A fractured rib, meanwhile, is extremely painful, but can also be lethal should the bone perforate or puncture an internal organ.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Back and spinal cord injuries are fairly common to every kind of automobile accident, but can be especially bad in a motorcycle accident. If a biker is thrown from his or her bike, the resultant spinal cord injury could require only moderate recovery and physical therapy. If serious enough, though, it may involve:
- permanent back pain
- limited mobility
Back problems are no laughing matter, even when they're "not all that serious". It's important to seek medical assistance as soon as possible after an accident in order to avoid future complications. For a closer look at what to do, we'd like to recommend following these steps immediately after your accident.
Bad Motorcycle Wrecks, Injuries, and You
Ultimately, no two bad motorcycle wrecks are ever bad in the same way. Maybe you're lucky enough to make it out unscathed, or with only superficial injuries. Maybe you aren't, and what you're left with is a new set of physical problems you'll have to manage from here on out.
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