Tips in Preventing Motorcycle Injuries
by: Kay Zetkin
Safety in riding motorcycles in order to prevent injuries
is a very critical issue especially during the peak of motorcycle
season. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons are very
much concerned about this issue since there are almost always
a lot of motorcycle accidents happening at least one every
few days. Most injuries noted from the people brought in the
Level One Trauma Units range from serious musculoskeletal
injuries, open fractures and head traumas from motorcycle
The increasing accidents are linked to the increased number
of motorcycles on the road. Records show that since 1997,
motorcycles sales increased to more than 90%. Last 2001, motorcycles
represented only 2.2 percent of all registered vehicles in
the United States and accounted for 0.34 percent of vehicle
miles traveled. However, crashes involving motorcycles accounted
for 7.6 percent of total traffic fatalities on America's roadways.
As recently reported by the US Department of Transportation's
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in
2002 there were 42,815 fatalities from motorcycle accidents.
Whats alarming is this is the highest level of fatality
report since 1990.
While some accidents cause injuries or lifetime paralysis,
some result to fatalities. Thus, these incidents should be
a constant reminder for motorcyclists to protect themselves.
According to Maureen Finnegan, MD, professor at the University
of Texas and orthopaedic surgeon at Parkland Hospital in Dallas,
most motorcycle injuries involve the extremities and the spinal
cord. Majority of fatalities are results of head injuries.
Thus, she said that the most important tip for motorcycle
safety is to wear a helmet. Wearing helmets are estimated
to be 29 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries and
67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries for motorcyclists.
Another thing is the wearing of proper clothing in riding
and of course, really learning how to ride a motorcycle and
handle certain situations throughout the ride.
Here are other helpful tips in preventing motorcycle injuries:
Get professionally trained in motorcycle riding. Research
shows that more than 90 percent of all riders that were involved
in crashes are just self-taught or taught by friends.
Secure your license to drive. Nearly 27 percent or
one out of four motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in
2001 was not properly licensed.
Do not drink and ride. Those most at risk in getting
into accidents are inebriated motorcyclists.
Use helmets that meet the DOT (Department of Transportation)
Wear protective clothing this includes goggles
or sun shades for eye protection, jacket, full- fingered gloves,
long pants and over-the-ankle boots.
Make sure that your motorcycle clothing and gears are
made of abrasion-resistant material, such as leather. Avoid
loose, flailing clothing that could impair your vision.
Wearing brightly colored garments may help other vehicles
Proper maintenance and monitoring of your bike is of
high importance. Observe proper lane positioning of your bike
to further increase your visibility to drivers. Keeping a
"space cushion" between your bike and other traffic
should also be kept in mind.
Avoid sharing a lane with a car since its driver may
not expect you to be there or may not become aware of your
presence. Most drivers look out for other bigger vehicles
that they may fail to notice you instantly unless something
has happened already.
Ride according to your skill level. Never overestimate
About The Author
Kay Zetkin discovered the pleasure of writing through her
daily journals as a teen-ager. Writing in it helped sort out
her thoughts, relieve her feelings and record what she observes
of the world.
For her, writing is an effective tool to express your viewpoints...
To write is already to choose, thus, writing should be done
along with a critical mind and a caring soul. She hopes to
become more professional, skilled and mature in her craft.
Aside from writing Kay spends her time reading. Reading lets
her travel to far-off imagined places and situations. She
also learns a lot from devouring books, especially from the
socio-political and historical ones.
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