Riding a motorcycle can be tons of fun, and is by far one of the most exciting and exhilarating things you can do on a regular basis. Indeed, feeling the freedom of hitting the open road on two wheels is tantamount to flying. However, just like most other exciting, high-adrenaline activities, motorcycling isn’t without its risks. It’s often said that a tiny fender-bender for a car is potentially life-threatening for a motorcyclist. Indeed, this is true, as we are completely exposed to the elements when we’re out riding our bikes.
That being said, being injured from a mishap on your motorcycle is pretty much something all riders have experienced at one point. As is the case with most injuries, they can vary in severity from tiny scuffs all the way to broken bones. With that, let’s take a closer look at the most common injuries associated with motorcycle accidents.
The first and most common injury, even from low-speed motorcycle crashes, is road rash. The power with which you scratch the pavement causes numerous layers of your skin to peel away, sometimes exposing muscles beneath, which is why road rash is considerably more serious than a simple scrape or bruise. Road rash may thus be excruciatingly painful, take a very long time to cure, and potentially even leave some lasting scars. Wearing the appropriate motorcycle jacket, gloves, and pants—all of which should be made of an abrasion-resistant fabric or leather—will suffice to prevent this.
Arms and legs
Naturally, in case of an accident, our upper and lower extremities are most susceptible to damage, especially if the impact is so hard that it causes us to flay our arms and legs while flying through the air. Oftentimes, you’ll use your hands to catch your fall and send that impact traveling from your hands to your wrists, then to your shoulders. Your legs can also be prone to injuries from being caught beneath your bike, or from impact to the ground.
Similar to road rash, you can prevent serious injuries to your limbs by wearing motorcycle-approved gear with CE-rated protectors on the shoulders and elbows, as well as the knees and hips. Wearing high-quality boots and gloves will also pay dividends in keeping you safe from injuries to your hands and feet.
It’s pretty clear why the helmet is by far the most important piece of safety gear when it comes to riding a motorcycle. Head injuries are extremely common and can be life-threatening in some cases. A concussion can have long-term effects that can adversely affect your way of life. Meanwhile fractures to your jaw, nose, and other parts of your face can leave you disfigured and in a lot of pain. As such, we always recommend that you wear a full-face helmet if you ride a big bike, or a three-quarter helmet for scooter riders. We strongly discourage the use of half-shell helmets, as these offer hardly any protection to the most vulnerable parts of your head.
Being thrown off a motorcycle due to gravel or loose dirt mid-corner is no fun. Oftentimes, a motorcyclist who gets in a high-side crash has no control over where the force of inertia will throw them. It usually ends with a hard impact to the pavement that can leave you with some heavy bruises to your torso, and maybe even a few broken ribs. What sucks the most about broken ribs is that there’s really nothing much you can do to ease the pain, other than to wait for the bone to heal on its own. You can, however, prevent them from happening in the first place by wearing a padded motorcycle jacket complete with back and chest protectors.
How to prevent injuries in the first place
As we were highlighting all the injuries you could possibly get from motorcycling, we also cited the appropriate gear to wear in order to prevent injuries in the first place. However, there’s another way to prevent accidents from happening in the first place, and it’s developing your riding skills. On Philippine roads, most riders and drivers are reactive, rather than proactive. This means they react to hazards or dangerous situations, instead of actually taking actions to avoid them in the first place.
As such, being a proactive motorcyclist can go a long way in keeping you safe. For example, if it’s raining, maybe it’ll be better to take your car instead. Additionally, if you anticipate heavy traffic, take a different route that will perhaps take you through a longer route, but with lighter, more free-flowing traffic. Taking steps to ensure your ride is more pleasant not only makes motorcycling more fun, it also contributes to keeping you safe on the road.