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Causes of Motorcycle Crashes

Prevailing Causes of Motorcycle Crashes

What are the prevailing injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents? Every year, numerous individuals suffer severe injuries in motorcycle crashes, with riders being at a significantly higher risk of harm than occupants of other vehicles. Despite the use of safety gear, such as helmets, boots, gloves, and jackets, injuries can still transpire. Various institutions, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the World Health Organization, and the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, have conducted studies that outline the types, locations, and severity of the most frequent motorcycle crash injuries. As experienced California motorcycle accident attorneys, we commonly encounter the following injuries:
• Road rash, which refers to abrasions and lacerations caused by a rider sliding across pavement after a crash, is the most frequently sustained motorcycle accident injury.
• Broken bones are a common outcome of motorcycle accidents, often caused by the high speeds involved. Leg, arm, and shoulder fractures are among the most typical types of broken bones.
• Head injuries are the most severe type of motorcycle accident injury, varying from mild concussions to traumatic brain injuries.
• Spinal injuries, caused by the force of the impact during a motorcycle accident, can result in partial or total paralysis due to damage to the spinal cord.
• Internal injuries are a potentially life-threatening motorcycle accident outcome that is challenging to diagnose. Lacerations of internal organs like the liver, spleen, and kidneys are frequently observed.

CDC Research Findings on Injuries related to Motorcycle Accidents:
Between 2001 and 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scrutinized the medical records of 1,222,000 people who had been hospitalized for non-fatal injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. Among these cases, the most frequently affected body part was the feet or legs, which accounted for 30% of all injuries. Injuries to the neck and head were the next most prevalent, constituting 22% of cases. Following these were injuries to the chest, back, or shoulders, followed by injuries to the hands and arms. Injuries to the pelvis and hips were the least common locations for non-fatal motorcycle accident injuries.

The AAAM Study: As it pertains to the Age of Rider and the frequency of Helmet use
In the course of its investigation into motorcycle accident injuries and their relationship to helmet use and rider age, the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) conducted a comprehensive review of police reports and hospital discharge reports involving motorcycle riders injured in Maryland between 1998 and 2002. Nine body locations were assessed for injury severity, with riders who wore helmets experiencing fewer severe injuries but more minor injuries. Consistent with the findings of the CDC, the AAAM identified the legs and feet as the most commonly injured areas among motorcycle riders.

The AAAM study further revealed that riders under the age of 40 were at a greater risk of severe head injuries when they did not wear helmets, while riders over 40 had a higher likelihood of such injuries when they did wear helmets. Of the severe injuries that resulted in fatalities, thoracic injuries were the most common, followed by head injuries and abdominal injuries. Although helmet use did not significantly influence the data, the study was comprehensive in its evaluation of the impact of helmets on motorcycle accident injuries.
The World Health Organization investigates the Severity of Motorcycle Injuries:

Pursuant to an inquiry conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), a detailed examination was undertaken to identify specific types of injuries incurred by riders seeking medical treatment at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre in Pakistan. In order to provide a comprehensive analysis, individuals afflicted solely with soft tissue injuries lacking fractures were excluded from the study, as were those who suffered head injuries necessitating neurosurgical intervention. Results revealed that injuries to the legs and feet were the most frequently recorded sites of injury.

Among the lower limb injuries, the tibia and fibula bones of the lower legs experienced the highest incidence of fractures, followed by the femur. Conversely, the most common upper body fractures involved the radius and ulna bones of the lower arms, followed by the humerus bones of the upper arms. As a matter of fact, the tibia bones of the lower legs showed the highest probability of fractures, leading the WHO to recommend that riders take into consideration the use of protective gear for the lower limbs while riding.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Research into Motorcycle Injuries

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has disclosed data it acquired from death certificates for 8,539 motorcyclists who perished in motorcycle accidents during the period spanning from 2000 to 2002. It has been established that for those motorcyclists who had helmets on at the time of the accident, the majority of fatalities, specifically 57 percent, resulted from the incidence of injuries that affected multiple areas of the body. Conversely, 44 percent of individuals who were not helmeted succumbed to injuries that affected multiple body locations. While 19 percent of helmeted riders passed away after sustaining head injuries, a significantly higher proportion of 36 percent of unhelmeted riders experienced head injuries leading to death. Overall, a total of 51 percent of fatalities occurred as a result of injuries incurred in multiple body locations, while 27 percent of mortalities involved head injuries. Furthermore, in crashes resulting in only one injury, head injuries were the leading cause of fatalities.


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