Riding a motorcycle can be an exciting form of transportation and recreation. However, motorcycle riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so they are more vulnerable to injuries in an accident. Here is an overview of some of the most common motorcycle injuries sustained in accidents in the state of Kansas.
Head and Facial Injuries
Head and facial injuries are some of the most common and serious injuries suffered by motorcyclists. Since motorcyclists lack airbags and seatbelts, they can be ejected from their bikes or strike the ground or other objects in a crash. Common head and face injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries – The jarring motion of a motorcycle accident can cause the brain to impact the inside of the skull, leading to concussions, bleeding, and other traumatic brain injuries. These can range from mild to severe.
- Skull fractures – The impact of a crash can fracture the skull. This may require surgery to reconstruct the bone.
- Facial fractures – Collisions can break facial bones like the nose, cheekbones, jaw, and eye sockets. These often require reconstructive surgery.
- Loss of eyesight – Facial and eye injuries can sometimes lead to partial or total vision loss or blindness.
Wearing a Department of Transportation-approved helmet is critical to help protect motorcyclists from sustaining catastrophic head and brain injuries in an accident.
The extremities are also very vulnerable during motorcycle crashes. Common orthopedic injuries include:
- Broken arms – Collisions often cause fractures in the humerus, radius, ulna, wrists, and hands. These may require casts or surgery with titanium plates and screws to repair.
- Broken legs – Leg fractures are also very common, occurring in the femur, tibia, fibula, knees, ankles, and feet. As with arm fractures, these often require orthopedic surgery.
- Spinal fractures – The jarring forces of accidents can cause compression fractures or burst fractures in the vertebrae. These may damage the spinal cord.
- Soft tissue damage – Crashes can cause extensive damage to skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Road rash or degloving injuries can be serious.
Joint dislocations and traumatic amputations of the extremities also occur with the most severe motorcycle collisions. Riders should wear protective leather clothing, boots, and gloves to help prevent or minimize soft tissue damage.
While external injuries are often obvious, internal damage can be life-threatening after a motorcycle crash:
- Unfortunately, motorcycle riders suffer from abdominal organ damage – The liver, spleen, kidneys, intestine, and other organs can be lacerated or ruptured. This causes severe internal bleeding.
- Rib fractures – Broken ribs are common and can potentially puncture lungs or other organs.
- Hemothorax and pneumothorax – This is bleeding or collapsed lungs due to blunt chest trauma. A chest tube is often required.
- Vascular injury – Blood vessels may be damaged, causing hemorrhage. Emergency surgery is required.
Motorcycle riders do not have the protections of airbags, seatbelts, and a metal frame surrounding them. Therefore, traumatic internal injuries after an accident are a major concern. Riders with significant internal injuries will require transport to a Level I trauma center.
Road rash is a painful abrasion caused by skin scraping across pavement in a motorcycle crash. It can range from mild to severe. Mild road rash can be cleaned and dressed at home. More serious cases require emergency medical care for cleaning, debriding, suturing, and bandaging. Extensive wounds may need skin grafting. Road rash is extremely prone to infection, so riders need close follow-up care. Wearing leather gear markedly reduces the extent of road rash injuries.
How to Prevent Motorcycle Injuries
While motorcycling does come with increased risk, riders can take steps to prevent injuries:
- Wear a DOT-approved helmet, leather jacket, gloves, pants, and boots.
- Take a motorcycle safety course and practice regularly to hone skills.
- Ride defensively and watch for dangerous drivers or road hazards.
- Maintain the motorcycle properly and keep tires in good condition.
- Avoid riding under the influence of any alcohol or drugs.
- Get regular vision checks and wear glasses or goggles if needed.
Following protective measures and riding responsibly greatly improves motorcycle safety. But ultimately, riders should be prepared and aware that injuries are always a possibility.
Motorcyclists in Kansas accidents commonly suffer serious injuries to their head and face, orthopedic extremities, internal organs, and skin. Protective gear and safe riding habits can help reduce risk. But the reality is that motorcycle crashes often result in severe trauma requiring emergency care and rehabilitation.
It’s important to talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer if someone else caused your injuries. Monge and Associates has offices in 32 locations in 19 states, including Georgia, Kansas, and Illinois. Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597 if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Kansas. We’re here to help!