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23 October 2022 | Comment | Article by Mark Robinson

What is the Most Common Motorcycle Injury?


Motorcycling offers an unparalleled sense of freedom and exhilaration, but it also comes with its own set of risks. Motorcycle injuries are unfortunately common, and the consequences can be severe – sometimes life-altering.

While the thrill of the open road beckons many, it’s crucial to remember that safety should never take a back seat. From wearing the right gear to understanding the types of injuries one could sustain, being informed is your first line of defence. In this blog post, we will delve into the most common types of motorcycle injuries, ranging from head and neck injuries to spinal damage, and discuss the importance of preventive measures.

Head Injuries

Head injuries stand out as one of the most common and, unfortunately, the most serious outcomes of motorcycle accidents. Injuries to this region can range from concussions and skull fractures to lacerations, internal bleeding and even traumatic brain injuries. The repercussions of such injuries can be lifelong and, in extreme cases, fatal.

This is why the use of approved helmets is not just a recommendation, but a necessity that takes precedence over any other safety measure. Helmets are designed to cushion the head upon impact, significantly reducing the risk of severe injuries. They act as a barrier between your skull and the external force, absorbing much of the shock that would otherwise directly affect your brain.

So, if you’re a motorcyclist, investing in a high-quality, approved helmet is non-negotiable. It could very well be the difference between a close call and a life-altering event. Always remember, when it comes to motorcycling, your helmet is not just an accessory; it’s a life-saving device.

Road Rash

Another injury that motorcyclists should be acutely aware of is ‘road rash.’ This term might sound somewhat trivial, but the condition it describes in motorcycle accident injuries is anything but. Road rash occurs when an unprotected part of the body comes into forceful contact with the pavement, usually following a collision that results in the rider being thrown off their motorcycle. The skin is then scraped away, leading to painful abrasions that can range from minor scrapes to severe, deep wounds.

The long-term effects of road rash should not be underestimated. Beyond the immediate pain and discomfort, these injuries can lead to complications such as skin irritation, bacterial infections, and even nerve damage. In some instances, the scarring can be permanent, serving as a lifelong reminder of the accident.

To mitigate the risk of road rash, wearing the right protective clothing is essential. Leather jackets, padded trousers and thick gloves are not just fashion statements, but crucial elements of a motorcyclist’s safety gear. These items create an additional layer between your skin and the asphalt, reducing the severity of abrasions in the event of a crash.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is perhaps one of the less obvious but equally concerning injuries that motorcyclists can experience. Unlike head injuries or road rash, hearing loss may not manifest immediately following an accident. In fact, it can occur over time due to consistent exposure to high noise levels and pressure changes, especially when riding at elevated speeds.

When you’re cruising down the motorway at 70 mph, the wind pressure against your ears can be intense, potentially leading to eardrum damage. This risk is exacerbated in adverse weather conditions, such as high winds or storms. While helmets are indispensable for protecting your head, they can sometimes amplify noise levels due to the confined space, adding to the risk of hearing loss.

Earplugs can be a simple yet effective solution to this problem. They can reduce the noise level entering your ears, thereby lowering the risk of hearing damage. It’s advisable to opt for high-fidelity earplugs designed for motorcyclists, as these are engineered to reduce harmful noise while allowing you to hear important sounds like sirens or horns.

Leg Injuries

While injuries to the upper body often garner more attention due to their potentially life-threatening nature, leg injuries are also a common and significant concern for motorcyclists. These can range from minor bruises and sprains to more severe conditions like fractures, dislocations, and even amputations in extreme cases.

Compared to injuries affecting the head or upper body, leg injuries are less likely to be fatal. However, that doesn’t make them any less debilitating. A severe leg injury can drastically impact your mobility and overall quality of life. For instance, you may find it challenging to walk, run or even stand, depending on the severity of the injury. In some cases, surgical intervention may be required, and the road to recovery can be long, arduous and emotionally taxing.

Protective gear such as knee pads, shin guards and high-quality riding boots can go a long way in reducing the risk of leg injuries. These pieces of equipment are designed to absorb impacts and provide a protective barrier against sharp objects, thereby lessening the severity of any potential injuries sustained.

Just as you wouldn’t compromise on a good helmet or protective clothing, investing in quality ear protection should also be on your safety checklist. After all, your hearing, once lost, is irreplaceable.

Bone Fractures

Bone fractures are another frequent outcome of motorcycle accidents, affecting various parts of the body such as the arms, hands and pelvis. Unlike car drivers, who have the benefit of seatbelts and a more stable interior, motorcyclists are exposed to the elements and have fewer protective barriers. This makes them more susceptible to fractures, especially in high-impact collisions.

One of the most common fractures in a motorbike accident or accidents is a broken leg, often resulting from a rough collision or when a heavy object lands on the rider’s leg. But it’s not just the legs that are at risk; wrists and arms are also commonly fractured, particularly when the rider instinctively extends their arms to shield themselves during a fall.

The severity of a fracture can vary, but even minor fractures can have a significant impact on your ability to perform everyday tasks. In more severe cases, surgical intervention may be required, involving the insertion of pins, plates or screws to stabilise the broken bones. The recovery process can be lengthy and may require extensive physiotherapy to regain full function.

To mitigate the risk of fractures, it’s advisable to wear protective gear that offers good impact absorption, such as elbow and knee pads, as well as reinforced gloves and boots. These can lessen the force of impact and provide additional support to vulnerable areas.

Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries are another serious concern for motorcyclists, given the spine’s critical role in supporting and connecting various skeletal systems, including the vertebrae and nerves. The spine is integral to many of our everyday functions, such as standing, walking and even sitting. Therefore, any injury to this area can have a devastating impact on virtually every aspect of daily life.

Spinal injuries can manifest in various ways, ranging from loss of sensation and exaggerated reflexes to more severe conditions like paralysis or loss of bowel control. The psychological and emotional toll of such injuries can also be immense, leading to feelings of helplessness and depression.

The risk of spinal injuries motorcycle crashes is heightened by the lack of protective barriers for motorcyclists compared to car drivers. In the event of a collision, the motorcyclist is often thrown off their bike, leading to high-impact falls that can severely damage the spinal cord. Wearing a back protector can offer some level of protection, absorbing some of the force from a fall and reducing the risk of spinal injuries.

How We Can Help

If you’ve experienced a life-changing motorcycle accident injury, the road to recovery can be fraught with challenges, both physical and emotional. Legal complexities often add another layer of stress to an already overwhelming situation. This is where Hugh James comes into the picture, offering specialised legal assistance to help you navigate the aftermath of severe and common motorcycle accident injuries.

Expert Legal Advice

Our team of expert solicitors is well-versed in personal injury law, particularly in cases involving motorcycle accidents. We can provide you with free consultation and tailored legal advice, helping you understand your rights and the compensation you may be entitled to.

Comprehensive Case Evaluation

We offer a thorough case evaluation to determine the viability of your claim. This includes gathering evidence, consulting medical experts, and liaising with insurance companies, ensuring that all aspects of your case are meticulously examined.

Emotional Support

Beyond the legalities, we understand the emotional toll that a severe injury can take. Our team is committed to providing compassionate support throughout the legal process, helping you cope with the psychological aspects of your recovery.

Negotiation and Litigation

We are skilled negotiators who will strive to secure the best possible settlement for you. If necessary, we are also prepared to take your case to court to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Long-Term Rehabilitation Support

In cases of life-changing injuries, the road to recovery is often long and requires ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation. We can help you secure compensation that covers not just immediate medical expenses, but also long-term rehabilitation costs.

Our team is here for you and we’re ready to get you the help, compensation and support you need. Speak to our motorcycle accident compensation claims specialists today on 0800 027 2557. If you’d like to send a message instead, fill in our online contact form and a member of our team will get back to you.

Author bio

Mark Robinson is a Senior Associate in the Serious Injury Department in Manchester and specialises in motorcycle accident claims of the utmost severity and complexity. He understands that motorcyclists remain one of the most vulnerable road users and the effects of an accident are a genuine concern for the motorcyclist and their loved ones. Mark has assisted clients with life changing injuries including brain and spinal injuries, severe orthopaedic injuries and amputations.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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