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October 2019

CDC study sheds light on the most common motorcycle injuries

Fall is a wonderful time to enjoy a motorcycle ride in our beautiful state of Colorado. However, if you have a close encounter with a vehicle, you are much more vulnerable to severe injury than the motorist.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention undertook an extensive study of motorcycle injuries. Here are how groups of injured body parts ranked.

First place: feet and legs

In a motorcycle crash, putting your hands out to break the fall from your bike is probably going to be an instinctive movement. However, study data from the CDC showed that 30% of non-fatal injuries occurred to the rider’s feet and legs. Very often, the heavy motorcycle pins a leg and foot to the ground when it rolls over in a crash.

Next, head and neck

It is not surprising to think that you may suffer a head or neck injury in a motorcycle crash, which is why wearing a helmet is so important. The CDC study revealed that these injuries account for 22% of all non-fatal injuries to riders.

Chest, back and shoulders

Collectively, chest, back and shoulder injuries take third place. Senior riders are especially vulnerable to chest injuries because with age, the chest wall becomes weaker.

Arms and hands

Injuries to arms and hands followed by injuries to the pelvis and hips are in last place, according to the study. In the impact of a crash, arms and hands are likely to suffer painful road rash because they hit the ground with considerable force.

Compiling statistics

The CDC collected data for 1,222,000 American motorcyclists treated for their injuries in hospitals between 2001 and 2008. Fatalities were addressed in another report entitled “Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State.” The results of this study released in 2018 from the Governors Highway Safety Association showed that fatalities to motorcycle riders occur 28 times more often than to passenger vehicle occupants.

Staying safe

Statistics on motorcycle injuries and deaths are not meant to frighten, but to inform. If a motorcyclist understands the risks, safety will become the foremost concern, giving the rider a greater appreciation for an enjoyable and uneventful ride in the crisp fall air.

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