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Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Brain Trauma: The Most Common Motorcycle Crash Injury

motorcycle accident resulting in injuries

Nationwide, brain trauma is the most common injury in motorcycle crashes. Occurences of other common motorcycle accident injuries vary from state to state. Consequently, Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmets are required by law in most states.

This NHTSA report illustrates the relationship between helmet use and brain injuries. After reviewing the report, it’s clear that helmets reduce the risk of sustaining the most common motorcycle wreck injuries.

Along with lowering the risk of brain trauma, motorcycle safety precautions reduce the chance of these common motorcycle accident injuries.

What Are the Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?

  • Brain Injury
  • Chest Trauma
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Neck and Back Injuries
  • Abdominal Injuries
  • Pelvic Fractures
  • Arm Fractures
  • Leg Fractures
  • Abrasions
  • Severe Burns

A Deeper Look at Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are the most common injuries associated with motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, they are hard to prove since many victims initially seem normal. The signs of trauma arise days or weeks after an accident.

Additionally, experts say that, in the past, doctors classified many brain injuries as “mild”. This type of trauma carries major disability risks. Fortunately, advances in the understanding of the long term effects of brain trauma have reduced underdiagnoses.

Chest Trauma

Motorcycle crashes often lead to extreme impact to the motorcyclist’s upper torso. Chest trauma commonly happens when the crash forces the rider into, or over, the handlebars of the bike. Broken ribs, punctured lungs, and bruised internal organs result from chest trauma.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Less than 10% of all motorcycle accidents result in spinal cord injuries. However, this traumatic event is possible in any motorcycle accident. As a result, EMS personnel treat all motorcycle accident victims as if they have a spinal cord injury. Until testing proves otherwise, first responders use extreme caution.

Neck and Back Injuries

Riders thrown from their bikes in a crash frequently suffer neck and back injuries. When dislodged, riders strike roadway structures like bridge supports or telephone poles. Such jarring physical events often result in whiplash or worse.

Abdominal Injuries

Abdominal and thoracic cavity injuries contribute significantly to fatalities and medical complications. Following a motorcycle accident, abdominal injuries such as rupture of abdominal organs and internal bleeding are common.

Pelvic Fractures

Pelvic fractures most frequently occur in motorcycle accidents when a vehicle runs over the rider or passenger. This can, in turn, lead to bladder ruptures. Recovery from a pelvic injury requires long periods of inactivity and uncomfortability.

Arm Fractures

Victims suffer fractures to one or both arms in approximately 13% of all motorcycle accidents. Protecting one’s limbs in a motorcycle accident is virtually impossible.

Leg Fractures

Broken leg bones are very common motorcycle accident injuries. Leg fractures usually happen in the femur, ankle, and knee. These seemingly typical breaks sometimes cause major blood vessels to rupture. As a result, a simple leg fracture becomes life-threatening.


Also known as road rash, abrasions are very common motorcycle accident injuries. Abrasions usually result when a bike tips over and drags the rider along the surface of the road. Road rash is common in single vehicle accidents and is often less dangerous than other injuries.

Severe Burns

Oftentimes, motorcycles cause minor burns even when an accident hasn’t happened. Hot, exposed tailpipes quickly burn unprotected skin. When accidents occur, prolonged contact with hot tailpipes or engine components leads to severe burns.

Statistics Look Grim But Motorcycle Accident Injuries Are Avoidable

Approximately 80% of all motorcycle crashes involving head trauma result in death. Statistics show that wearing a helmet significantly reduces chances of death or serious injury in a motorcycle accident. safe motorcyclist avoiding motorcycle accident injuries

14% of all traffic fatalities involved motorcyclists in 2017. Additionally, motorcycles accounted for 17% of all occupant (passenger and driver) fatalities. Of the 5,172 motorcyclists killed in traffic crashes, 94% were riders and 6% were passengers.

80% of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. By comparison, only 20% of car accidents result in injury or death.

When examining motorcycle accidents, it is important to note that most accidents are caused by drivers violating right-of-way rules. Drivers making left turns account for many motorcycle-related accidents.

Safety Measures Reduce Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Protective safety equipment can lessen or eliminate many common motorcycle accident injuries, such as head trauma and abrasions. Protective clothing and DOT approved helmets make the difference between tragedy and a few bumps and bruises. In addition to safety equipment, safe riding techniques help reduce common motorcycle accident injuries.

Visit our motorcycle accident page for more resources, including motorcycle safety tips, state motorcycle laws, and legal information. Common motorcycle accident injuries often require the assistance of skilled motorcycle accident lawyers. The Bernard Law Group is here to help.

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