The freedom of motorcycling comes with inherent risks, including a high risk of injury. Motorcycle accident injuries are, unfortunately, widespread. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 82,528 motorcyclists were injured in 2020. Because a motorcycle is not as stable or visible as a car and offers little protection, a motorcyclist could face significant injuries if something goes wrong.
If you are a motorcycle rider, you should know the most common motorcycle injuries. Below, the Long Island personal injury attorneys at TonaLaw describe the 10 most common motorcycle accident injuries. We also discuss ways to prevent these injuries and what you can do if someone else causes your injury. If you have questions about your specific injury or claim, please contact us today.
10 Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Every motorcycle accident and rider is different. Thus, you and another rider can experience entirely different injuries after a motorcycle accident. Below, we describe some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries. However, you may have injuries other than those listed below. If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, seek medical attention immediately.
1. Road Rash
Road rash is often thought of as the most common motorcycle injury. It happens when someone’s skin is scraped off due to contact with a hard surface like asphalt. Most road rash injuries can be easily treated. However, more severe cases may require a skin graft or dermabrasion, which involves removing the top layer of the skin.
2. Lower Extremity Injuries
Since your feet and legs are closest to the ground on a motorcycle, they are often the first body parts to be injured in an accident. In fact, some studies indicate that a lower extremity injury is the most common motorcycle injury. Fractures are the most typical type of lower extremity injury, with breaks in the lower part of the leg most prevalent.
3. Broken Bones
A broken foot is also sometimes thought of as the most common motorcycle injury. Depending on how you land in an accident you may also break your leg, hand, arm, ribs, or back. The impact of your body on the pavement can cause enough force to break any of your bones.
4. Neck Injuries
Motorcyclists can suffer from soft tissue damage in their necks from being rear-ended or thrown from their bikes. Just like car passengers and drivers, a motorcyclist can get whiplash too. Motorcyclists can also break the bones in their cervical spine.
A motorcycle accident can cause your body to twist and turn in ways that can stretch or tear your ligaments, resulting in a sprain. You can sprain virtually any joint in your body. Most sprains start to heal within two weeks. More severe sprains may require more time or surgery.
For a passenger, an exhaust pipe burn is often described as the most common motorcycle injury. Typically, a person gets a burn injury when their leg touches the exhaust pipe. These injuries can be extremely painful.
7. Spinal Injuries
Spinal injuries are also common motorcycle accident injuries. A motorcyclist or passenger can injure their vertebra or their spinal cord. According to one study in 2017, injuries to the lumbar spine, or lower back, were the most common non-fatal motorcycle spinal injuries.
8. Head Injuries
Head injuries from motorcycle accidents are prevalent and diverse. Riders can suffer from the following head injuries:
- Intracranial bleeding, and
- Skull fractures.
Head injuries can be serious, particularly if you sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBIs can impact your language skills, mobility, mood and memory.
9. Scarring and Disfigurement
Cuts, scrapes, and road rash can cause permanent skin damage which results in scarring. Sometimes the damage goes beyond the skin and permanently alters a part of your body. Facial disfigurement can be a traumatic injury.
10. Emotional Trauma
Many don’t consider the emotional trauma that follows a motorcycle accident. However, emotional or mental trauma may be the most common motorcycle injury. After an accident, a motorcyclist or passenger can suffer from:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder,
- Mood changes, and
- New fears.
Although these injuries are not visible, they can be debilitating and life-altering.
How to Prevent These Common Motorcycle Injuries?
As a motorcyclist, you must take steps to minimize your risk of injury on the road. Here are some things you can do to prevent common motorcycle accident injuries.
Wear a Helmet and Protective Gear
Studies consistently show that helmets save lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017. An additional 749 people would still be alive if they had worn a helmet. Helmets prevent head injuries which helps prevent fatalities.
In addition to a helmet, you can wear sturdy clothes like leather gloves, leather jackets, or leather pants to protect your body. You can also invest in a strong pair of boots to protect your feet and ankles. Many motorcyclists invest in body armor which offers more protection than regular clothes.
Learn Motorcycle Safety
One of the top reasons cited for motorcycle accidents is the inexperience of a motorcyclist. If you are a new rider, invest in a motorcycle safety course. A safety course will teach you the specific things you need to be aware of and prepared for as a motorcyclist. Although New York recommends motorcycle class safety classes to all prospective riders, they are not required. Plus, the safety class gives you more time to become familiar with your bike before you start riding on the busy New York roads.
Check Your Bike Before Your Ride
In the movies, a motorcyclist can just hop on their bike without a care in the world. It starts up just fine, and everything is always in working order. That is not the case in real life. Because motorcycles offer no protection to a rider, a rider must check their vehicle before hopping on. You should walk around your motorcycle and look for anything indicating a problem, such as liquid droplets on the ground, debris stuck in the chain or wheels, and indications of low tire air pressure. If your motorcycle has a mechanical issue on the road, a pleasant ride can turn catastrophic.
Don’t Ride Under the Influence
Riding after drinking or taking an impairing substance increases your risk of injury or death. In 2021, 29% of motorcyclist fatalities involved motorcyclists with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or more. Alcohol and drugs affect your alertness and reaction times. If you want to avoid an injury as a motorcyclist, do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Contact TonaLaw for Help Getting Compensation for Your Motorcycle Injury
Injured Long Island motorcycle riders do not have to balance their physical and emotional healing with figuring out how to file a compensation claim. If you have one of these common motorcycle accident injuries, TonaLaw is here for you. Our motorcycle accident attorneys will take the burden of negotiating with insurance companies, estimating your damages, and filing legal paperwork off your shoulders so you can focus on your recovery. Contact our office today to see the TonaLaw difference.