There’s a lot to be said for motorcycle riding. The call of the open road. Easy riding. You and your bike at one with each other. Total freedom. But with all these pluses come the minuses. In a crash, you are over 30 times more likely to die than the driver of the vehicle you hit or that hits you. Even if you survive, your injuries are far more likely to be catastrophic than theirs.
Just last month, the following motorcycle crashes occurred in and around New York City:
- September 10 – A Whitesboro man suffered serious injuries when his cycle was struck from behind by a car following him too closely.
- September 13 – A Sangerfield motorcycle passenger suffered critical internal injuries and the cycle driver less life-threatening injuries when a car attempting to make a U-turn instead turned into the path of their oncoming cycle.
- September 15 – A Midtown New York City man suffered critical injuries when his cycle rammed into a car that made a left turn in front of him.
- September 23 – A Brooklyn rider lost his life when he collided with a car making a U-turn.
Earlier this year, a Phoenix rider’s left leg was completely amputated in a car-cycle crash on Interstate 10. His passenger likewise sustained critical injuries. In addition, a Michigan rider suffered an above-ankle amputation when he crashed into the back of an 18-wheeler’s trailer as it suddenly backed up in front of him.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of motorcycle crashes increased by 61 percent between 1997 and 2006. The number of rider fatalities rose by a whopping 129 percent. The majority of the riders who lost their lives or sustained incapacitating injuries did so when their bike’s front was the initial point of impact.
During this period, lower-extremity injuries were the most common injury types, followed by upper-extremity and head injuries. While lower-extremity injuries were more frequent, head, chest and abdominal injuries tended to be more severe. Nationwide, trauma centers saw approximately 16,000 riders and passengers each year who sustain incapacitating injuries.
As a rider, you are part of a particularly vulnerable group of road users. Given the relatively small size of you and your bike as compared to other vehicles, the drivers of those vehicles often fail to see or notice you. In addition, you often fall within their vehicles’ blind spots. All of these factors often result in what have become known as “SMIDSY” accidents that may account for upwards of 40 percent of all car-motorcycle collisions. The acronym stands for “Sorry, Man, I Didn’t See You.”
The top three injuries you are at highest risk of sustaining in a cycle crash are the following:
- Lower extremity injuries – 47 percent likelihood
- Upper extremity injuries – 40 percent likelihood
- Head injuries – 35 percent likelihood
Riders sustain more leg injuries than any other type of lower-extremity injury, accounting for 27 percent of them. Pelvic injuries account for another 18 percent, and knee injuries a further 16 percent. Bone fractures represent the majority of lower-extremity injuries, but unfortunately, leg and partial leg amputations are not at all uncommon. Not only can the accident itself result in amputation, but depending on the nature and severity of the motorcycle injuries, infection may set in, resulting in the need for amputation days, weeks or even months after the accident.
Extraordinary Medical Costs
Not surprisingly, the lower-extremity and other injuries you could sustain in a motorcycle crash often lead to costly medical treatment and permanent disability. Your medical and associated costs could skyrocket due to the following:
- Extended hospital stay
- One or more surgeries
- Physical and occupational therapies
- Rehabilitation treatments
- Prosthetic limb(s)
- Skilled nursing care
In addition, should your injuries be long-lasting or permanent, you likely will lose your current job and may well have diminished future earning capacity. You also could face significant pain and suffering, as well as disfigurement and scarring.
If you or a loved one suffers motorcycle injuries in an accident, please call Richard A. Dubi toll-free at 833-FOR-DUBI (833-367-3824).