Motorcycle Injuries That Can Change Your Life and How to Prevent Them
Did you know that, according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 80 percent of all motorcycle accidents result in personal injuries or even prove fatal to the rider? Only 30 percent of traditional motor vehicle accidents result in personal injuries. In a sedan, SUV, or truck, you are protected by a variety of safety mechanisms, including shatterproof glass, airbags, seat belts, and collapsible car frames. However, motorcyclists may deny themselves such protection in exchange for maneuverability and fuel efficiency, but this means that they risk suffering injuries to a more severe extent than those traveling in a traditional motor vehicle.
Most Common Injuries Suffered by Florida Motorcyclists
Generally, a motorcyclist’s entire body is exposed to the open road, so riders risk suffering injuries to multiple areas of their bodies depending on the severity of the accident and impact. However, the most common injuries suffered by Florida riders are:
- Leg, ankle, and foot injuries
- Arm, wrist, hand, and shoulder injuries
- Traumatic head injuries
- Neck and spinal injuries
- Chest and abdominal injuries
Among the most common injuries suffered, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and chest injuries are among the most fatal. While broken legs, ankles, and flesh wounds are the most common, chest and abdominal injuries affect the heart, lungs, organs, and ribs, vital organs.
A “traumatic brain injury,” defined as an injury to the brain that “occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction,” can often have the most severe impact on your everyday life. While a mild traumatic brain injury can cause temporary dysfunction of brain cells and result in dizziness, headaches, and loss of consciousness, riders generally experience a full recovery from mild traumatic brain injuries. However, a severe traumatic brain injury can cause serious physical damage, such as internal bleeding, bruising, and torn brain tissues, which may cause long-term cognitive, mental, and physical dysfunction. If you suffer from a traumatic brain injury, you may never be able to return to work in your normal capacity, as such head injuries can affect your ability to learn and concentrate.
Rules of the Road for Florida Motorcyclists
Motorcycles are generally governed by the same rules of the road as any other motor vehicle. However, if a motorcyclist is driving between lanes and weaving around stopped cars in order to avoid traffic, this is called “lane splitting, ” and it is illegal in Florida, although it is permitted in some states. Florida also does not permit “lane sharing,” which is when two or more motorcycles ride side-by-side in a single lane. Accordingly, Florida drivers will not be expecting a motorcyclist to be traveling between lanes or on the shoulder, which can present a danger to the rider. Further, although motorcycles are easier to maneuver, especially for experienced riders, it is common for a motorcyclist to take a turn too quickly, hit loose gravel, and be separated from his or her bike. Road debris, potholes, and structural deficiencies on highways can present serious dangers to riders that they wouldn’t otherwise to traditional drivers.
It should be noted that although wearing an approved motorcycle helmet can help greatly decrease your chances of suffering from traumatic brain injury after a motorcycle accident, under Florida law, motorcyclists over the age of 21 have the option of forgoing protective headgear if they maintain personal injury coverage of at least $10,000. If you wear a helmet, you are actually exempt as a motorcyclist from carrying insurance, including personal injury, liability, and property damage coverage. It is always wise to carry coverage, however, as failure to do so can result in personal liability on your part, and having no-fault insurance may encourage you to seek medical treatment more promptly, which can help in the early diagnosis of traumatic brain injuries.
Preventing Florida Motorcycle Injuries
Even for safe riders, no protective gear or precautions are going to make up for the safety offered by traditional motor vehicles. Even if you are not negligent, this does not prevent unsafe drivers from causing you injury or failing to properly share the road. This can result in severe crushing injuries, which may leave you paralyzed and in need of constant medical care. However, safety organizations recommend utilizing the following motorcycle specific gear, which can help prevent minor injuries.
Helmet: should fit snugly, be free of defects, and motorcycle approved
Eye and face protection: should be made from shatterproof plastic
Jacket: should fit snugly but allow freedom of movement, and it should be made from either leather or a strong synthetic material; purchasing a jacket designed for motorcycle use is recommended, as they are made to be worn in all weather
Pants: should be worn in all weather, even Florida weather, and cover your legs completely
Boots: should be high and sturdy so that your ankles are covered, but heals should be short, and soles should be sturdy and made from slip-resistant materials; it is also a good idea to find boots without laces to ensure they do not catch in gears and components of your bike
Gloves: should be made of leather or another type of breathable, durable material and allow for a strong and flexible grip
Although utilizing this gear will help protect you from certain injuries, such as those sustained from loose debris, minor scrapes and burns, and head injuries, they are primarily designed to prevent injury by keeping your vision clear, your body protected from the wind and the elements, and your feet and hands from slipping. This gear will certainly help decrease your chances of suffering from preventable injuries but is not likely protect you from severe injury or death.
Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney if You Were Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
Not every law firm understands the freedom associated with riding and the reasons behind your choices. The Dolman Law Group is your premier motorcycle accident firm in the Clearwater area, and its lawyers understand the intricacies of motorcycle liability and injury litigation. Call them today at 727-451-6900 for a free, no-risk consultation.