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Dangers Motorcyclists Face On the Road

kokou adzo

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a person sitting on a motorcycle on a mountain

Riding a motorcycle is a liberating experience. The feeling of the wind in your face and the road literally beneath your feet can give you a sense of freedom you can’t get in a car or truck. This sense of freedom also comes with dangers that can sometimes add to the excitement of riding a motorcycle. 

Did you know San Diego saw 639 motorcycle accidents in 2021? This equals around two accidents every day. While this doesn’t mean giving up your love of riding, this startling statistic should make you more aware of the dangers motorcycle riders can face every day.

Common Types of Motorcycle Injuries

Regardless of where you go in California, there’s a good chance you’ll see at least one motorcycle on your drive. Motorcycles are a popular form of transportation. After all, California has great year-round weather for riding. 

The sheer number of motorcycles on California roads and highways means accidents are always a possibility. Why motorcycle accidents occur varies. Sometimes, it’s the rider’s fault and other wrecks are caused by motor vehicle drivers not paying attention to their surroundings.

Regardless of the reason for the crash, motorcyclists often suffer significant injuries. On a bike, riders don’t have the protection drivers get from their vehicles. There’s literally nothing protecting motorcyclists from the road. Some of the common injuries in motorcycle accidents range from road rash to traumatic brain injuries.

Road Rash

Road rash is the most common type of injury in motorcycle accidents and can range from minor to severe. This type of skin abrasion occurs when a rider skids on the pavement after being thrown from the bike. 

Severe cases of road rash can result in nerve damage. If the abrasions are properly treated, infections can also develop. Wearing protective clothing like long pants and sleeves can help minimize the injury’s severity.

Fractures and Broken Bones

Broken arms, femurs, shins, and even pelvic bones often occur when a rider is violently thrown from their bike. 

Sometimes, fractures and broken bones are caused by a vehicle involved in the crash accidentally hitting the rider that was thrown. Even vehicles not involved in the initial accident can hit a rider, adding to their injuries.

Neck and Head Injuries

The law is clear in California regarding helmets and motorcycle riders. All riders must wear a helmet, it doesn’t matter if you’re steering the bike or a passenger. Even though some riders feel the helmet takes away from the ‘coolness’ factor, the protective gear can potentially save your life.

A helmet can protect you from a traumatic brain injury and even death if you’re thrown from your bike in an accident.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal injuries are unfortunately common in high-speed motorcycle accidents. Along with the potential of a permanent injury like paralysis, riders can also suffer chronic pain and nerve damage. Some spinal injuries are catastrophic and lead to a fatality.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

While spinal cord injuries are frightening and occasionally debilitating, TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) are the leading cause of death among riders. Your level of experience on a bike doesn’t matter if you’re not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents

As mentioned earlier, motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. There’s really no formula to figuring out when is the safest time to ride. However, knowing a little bit about the common types of motorcycle wrecks may help you be better prepared to avoid a catastrophic accident.

Lane Splitting

Surprisingly or not, lane splitting is legal in California. However, this doesn’t mean you should engage in this potentially dangerous behavior. What’s lane splitting? Have you ever seen a motorcyclist riding between two lanes of traffic? 

Basically, the bike is riding the line dividing the two lanes. Anyone familiar with California’s daily traffic jams is probably in favor of lane splitting. For vehicle drivers, there’s less risk of rear-ending cyclists in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Motorcycle riders can also keep going when motor vehicle drivers are stuck in a traffic jam.

However, lane splitting also comes with dangers that include:

  • Riding close to larger vehicles
  • Difficulty maneuvering in a tight space
  • Drivers aren’t always on the lookout for bikes riding between the lanes

Head-on Collisions

Head-on collisions are every motorcycle rider’s worst nightmare. This type of motorcycle accident often happens at traffic lights and stop signs. A motor vehicle driver fails to stop and crashes head-on into a motorcycle. 

Injuries can range from whiplash, if both vehicles are traveling at a relatively slow rate of speed, to spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. Fatalities can also occur if the collision involves high rates of speed.

Intoxication

Okay, it doesn’t matter if you’re riding a motorcycle or behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is illegal. There aren’t any exceptions, and penalties are harsh, even if the behavior doesn’t result in an accident. There are just some things you never want to do, and driving while intoxicated is at the top of the list.

Regardless of whether the driver or rider is intoxicated, both pose a significant risk to themselves and others. If the legal and financial penalties aren’t enough to discourage you from drinking and driving, then the possibility of causing a fatal accident should be enough to prevent you from driving or riding after a few drinks.

Road Hazards

Potholes, debris in the road, uneven pavement, and construction zones can all increase your risk of an accident. Motorcycles rarely have problems with traction, especially if you keep up with tire maintenance. However, trying to maneuver a bike over potholes isn’t easy. You can easily lose control of the bike.

Were You Injured in a Motorcycle Accident

Riding a motorcycle undoubtedly carries inherent risks, yet many enthusiasts find the experience exhilarating and worth the potential dangers. However, even the most cautious riders are not immune to accidents. 

In the unfortunate event of a motorcycle accident resulting in injury, you may have the right to seek compensation for your losses. It’s advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in motorcycle accident cases to understand your legal options and potentially recover damages.

 

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Startup.info. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Startup.info.

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