The speed, sun beating down, air hitting your body, and the sense of total freedom is what motorcyclists experience when they ride. The feeling of control and connection to the elements can be exhilarating for some and spiritual for others – it is the ultimate experience. The fact that a person is exposed on a motorcycle and the potential of injury is always present prevents many from even getting on a bike. Those that choose to ride know injury is a reality but believe that the experience outweighs the risk.
The following are the most common types of injuries sustained when a hog meets the asphalt, another vehicle, or any other incident in which the rider goes down:
Road Rash – This is one of the most common injuries to riders during a collision. When a rider hits the ground, regardless of wearing proper skin protection, road rash can occur. The simplest version is similar to a rug burn and there's no skin breakage. As the impact increases and skin exposed scrapes the road, multiple layers of skin can break. This can be very painful and even increase chances of serious infections. Try to keep your skin guards on all the time, it helps reduce the level of road rash – it's absolutely worth it.
Arm and Leg Injury – The extremities are in full active performance while riding. This leaves them exposed to the elements and a common site of minor and serious injury. The riders can experience anything from a broken leg or arm all the way to a permanent disability. To avoid injury or reduce danger it's best to wear long pants and long shirts – some wear leather to avoid serious road rash.
Head injury – The head is the heaviest part of the body and on a bike it's literally in full view. The helmet is essential to avoid having a minor collision turn into a serious brain injury. The head is very sensitive and brain transplants are not perfected. Basically, if you break your head, all the king's horses and all the king's cannot put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Wear the helmet and don't take any chances. It's very common to be launched from your bike and the head will hit the ground like a sack of potatoes. This is common and that is why motorcycles and helmet go together like peas and carrots.
Common Injury Causes
Most motorcycle enthusiasts do not ignore the risks and make a conscious effort to stay safe. Chances are that if you have ever seen a motorcycle you were wowed by the bike – it's sound, design, chrome, accessories, and real sense of style. This is because bikers know their motorcycle just like a mother knows her child, it must be an intimate relationship. Any experienced biker will share this knowledge with a novice: know everything about your bike, its noise, smell, rhythm, and most importantly how it handles. The mastery of riding your bike must be like second nature, similar to breathing.
That type of close relationship between man and bike can help prevent injuries and accidents; however, motorcyclists are not immune from accidents and the potential always exists. The following are the reasons that cyclists suffer injuries the most:
Turning cars – Motorcycles and cars share the road. So, what might have been a simple fender bender between two cars results in a serious injury to a biker. A driver that forgets to signal and turns left or switches lanes without notice to the biker can cause a collision. It might have been the case that the driver checked to see if there is another car, but the blind-spot prevented the cyclist from being seen.
Road hazards – Motorcycles will naturally react differently than cars to simple road hazards such as pot-holes, oil slick, debris, and other such deficiencies in the road. A motorcycle can quickly wipe out and spin out of control if an unexpected road condition occurs. This can happen fast and there is not enough reaction time to prevent an accident from happening.
Cornering – The speed of a bike can be a lot of fun, but sometimes that speed can take hold of a rider. Taking corners on a bike can be a little tricky depending on the steepness of the angle. Remember a bike has two wheels not four, so taking an angle too fast can cause the bike to lose control under the rider and slip out.
Ways to Help Avoid Injury
Just because the odds are against you doesn't mean that you are an accident waiting to happen. In fact, a number of collisions may be avoided, even if the other driver is at-fault. The following are ways that you and yours can help to avoid serious injury while riding a hog:
Keep your Distance – The key is to always be aware of the cars around you. It is important to have the understanding that cars might not see you and automobiles can turn without warning. Keeping a safe distance is always a good idea to avoid the unexpected. Depending on the flow of traffic it is not always possible, but keeping this in mind can prevent being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Bike maintenance – Keeping your motorcycle in top working condition is important for many reasons. It can be vital to avoiding accidents and road hazards. Make sure to check tire pressure and check any mechanical issues the moment they occur. This will ensure fast reaction times and well serviced tires might mean the difference between making it across that unexpected oil slick.
Know your limits – It is important to your safety that you recognize that there are limits. Pushing to high speeds and cornering too fast drastically increases the potential for an accident to occur. Having a sense of limitations might be the opposite of your natural tendency, but that could mean the difference between life and death.
Ways to Assist Injured Motorcyclists
Even the most simple motorcycle collision can be serious. It is best to immediately contact emergency assistance and be clear it was a motorcycle accident. The best thing to do if the motorcyclist is unresponsive or screaming in pain is do not move them. Rather it is best to block traffic and ensure a secondary accident does not occur. Create a safe distance between the accident and surrounding traffic. Waiting for the emergency assistance is the safest, trying to move an injured cyclist can potentially make the situation much worse.
Motorcycle safety is a serious matter and will prove important if you are a rider or bystander to a collision. Bikes are a lot of fun and should be respected for their power and exposure to the natural elements at high speeds. We hope you are able to pick up a few words of advice and most importantly stay safe on the road – behind the wheel or on the bike