There is no denying that motorcycling is exhilarating – nothing beats the adrenalin rush of riding a powerful machine and enjoying the freedom of the open road. But sadly, motorcyclists face real dangers too and are one of the most vulnerable road user groups.
According to Think! the safety campaign run by the Department for Transport, motorcyclists are around 38 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants, for every mile ridden.
Of course, when compared to a car occupant, who is relatively well protected, hidden behind metal framework and wearing a seatbelt, a motorcyclist is extremely vulnerable. There is nothing to come between them and another vehicle in the event of a collision.
Modern safety equipment for motorcyclists does offer some protection. However riders unfortunately still receive many injuries on our road each year. Here are some of the most common injuries which a motorcyclist might face in an accident:
Despite wearing well-fitted protective leathers and helmet, if a car hits a motorcyclist, it is more than likely going to result in broken bones for the vulnerable biker. Whereas in a car we are protected by the steel frame of the vehicle, motorbikes don’t afford the same protection so bones can be easily broken.
Injuries frequently occur to the lower limbs, including crushed and shattered bones for example when a large heavy vehicle has impacted in a collision, or fractures to arms or hands after the rider flings out their arms to protect their head or torso after they are knocked off their bike.
Some broken bones are more complicated and serious than others and if surrounding muscles or other tissues are damaged extensively, recovery times can be considerable. In really severe cases, the rider may also face amputation if the damage to the bone and limb is too extensive to repair.
Perhaps one of the most serious injuries that a motorcyclist can face is a head injury. Often referred to as the ‘hidden’ injury, the effects of a head injury can last far longer than the physical signs of trauma. They can also develop over time and so it is important to visit your doctor if you have had a head injury and start to feel different in yourself some time later (including fatigue, forgetfulness etc.).
Of course, a well maintained and professionally fitted helmet provides a relatively high degree of protection to the fragile structure of the skull, but it cannot fully protect you from acquiring a head or brain injury. Concussions are very common and if you suspect that you may have been concussed after falling or being thrown from your bike, you should seek immediate medical attention.
If left untreated, head and brain injuries are extremely serious and can escalate quickly, without any outwards signs of a problem. Our advice is that if you have hit your head; always visit A&E to be on the safe side.
Because as riders, we are vulnerable to larger, heavier vehicles, there can be a very serious risk of spinal injury in the event of a collision. Our spine is a very important structure in our bodies – in particular, the spinal cord carries messages up and down the body from the brain to control our movement and processes we don’t even think about, like breathing. Damage to the spinal cord is often irreversible and so we must do everything we can to protect ourselves.
Safety equipment such as air jackets (which expand when a clip releases in the event on an impact) and body armour are relatively new to the market, but offer riders further protection against a spinal injury.
Sudden and very heavy impacts can occur to riders in the event of a motorbike crash and this can lead to serious muscle damage. Our bodies are not designed to cope with these impacts and muscles can get easily torn and nerves could get badly damaged too. Wearing heavy leathers with elbow and knee pads can offer some protection. Don’t neglect the muscles in your face and neck too by wearing a correctly fitted helmet which conforms to modern safety standards.
Muscle, tendon or ligament damage can take a long time to repair, depending on the severity of the injury and you may not be able to ride your bike for some time whilst your body recovers.
This unpleasant injury is caused when our skin comes into contact with tarmac or other rough surfaces, usually from sliding and skidding along the road after falling from our bikes. These injuries can be very nasty, with a cheese grater effect literally peeling skin off our bodies. This is why it is vital to wear thick clothing, like leathers, as they are less likely to be ripped and torn, exposing the skin beneath.
Road Rash is not just a simple graze or cut, the skin can be traumatised several layers deep and if grit, dirt and other road substances penetrate the wound it can lead to serious problems including infection and even nerve damage.
If you are involved in a crash and suffer road rash you should visit your nearest A&E department to make sure the wound is flushed out and cleaned effectively.
Part of the thrill of riding a motorcycle is the adrenalin rush of riding a powerful, fast machine. However, we need to make sure that we take every precaution we can to minimise the risk of serious injury.
It is impossible to completely safe guard against an accident but if you are injured in a motorcycle accident which wasn’t your fault, or even if some proportion of blame can be attributed to your riding, you may be able to make a claim for motorcycle compensation.
Personal injury specialists such as Freeclaim Solicitors will be able to offer advice on your likelihood of success in making a claim and take all the stress away from seeking compensation. They also help with early assessment and treatment so that you can recover more quickly and get back to enjoying your bike more quickly. Call us today on 0800 612 8196 to start your claim.