Common Motorcycle Injuries and Safety Tips for Prevention
Any time you hit the road, it’s important to remember that you’re not invincible. This time of year, as traffic picks up and fun summer plans commence, motorcycle safety and awareness is needed to protect yourself and your loved ones.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while motorcycle accidents are not as common as car accidents, they are 28 times more likely to end in severe injury or death. Also, between 2012 and 2016, the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety states there were nearly 12,000 motorcycle accidents in the Garden State alone.
This rings true for Dr. Henry Schuitema, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Jefferson Stratford Hospital, who says, “Motorcycle accidents, without a doubt, start picking up as soon as the weather gets warm. Each day in the Emergency Department is different, but throughout spring and summer, we probably see one motorcycle accident per week.”
Motorcycle accidents (and injuries) are common for various reasons, two of which include:
- Motorcyclists are completely exposed to their surroundings with no restraints, in comparison to the enclosed, metal protection of a car – making the mistakes of other drivers incredibly dangerous.
- Motorcyclists don’t always take the proper safety precautions, increasing the likelihood for their own mistakes.
“One of the most common injuries we see is a result of not wearing proper clothing,” explained Dr. Schuitema. “Riders who aren’t ‘seasoned’ enough, or have skin showing, can end up with burns from the exhaust pipes. If they skid on the ground, they’re at risk for a really horrible road rash.”
Other, more severe injuries, do occur, such as when a motorcycle drastically decelerates.
“If a rider hits a parked car, or tree, that’s when we’ll see head, skeletal and internal injuries, often to the liver or the spleen,” continued Dr. Schuitema.
Some motorcycle safety tips include:
- Taking a motorcycle safety course.
- Not mixing drugs and alcohol with riding.
- Wearing all appropriate protective wear, including eye protection, long-sleeved jackets, pants, boots, gloves, and, most importantly, an approved helmet.
While motorcyclists themselves can work towards preventing accidents, it is equally important that drivers do so as well. When on the road, be fully aware of who is driving next to you, and give everyone their space.
“If you’re in a minor motorcycle accident, and think that you only have a few cuts and bruises, it’s still a good idea to go to your local Emergency Department and get checked out,” said Dr. Schuitema. “Any kind of moderate speed motor vehicle crash is dangerous and detrimental to our well-being.”
No matter the season, or the reason, it is always smart to practice safe riding habits while on your bike. Adopting small changes can mean the difference between a gorgeous day on the open road, or spending it at the hospital.