As the spring weather improves, more motorcycles are on the road. It is no secret, of course, that operating a motorcycle is dangerous. The risk of suffering injuries in an accident is high.
Some injuries are even greater, a study says, for motorcycle passengers. They are more likely than operators, for example, to suffer traumatic brain injuries.
What the numbers say
The statistics show motorcycle passengers suffer traumatic head injuries in 40% of accidents. Among operators, the rate is 36%. When wearing a helmet, the percentages are 36 for passengers and 31 for operators. The study reviewed almost 80,000 motorcycle operators and 6,000 passengers.
Brain injuries range from crippling to annoying. Some of them include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Confusion or disorientation
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Speech issues
- Sleeping problems
What the experts say
The risk of a brain injury is higher for passengers in a crash because they face the danger of ejection. They also are sitting higher than operators, who have limited protection from the windshield. Drivers also have a firm grip on the handlebars, in effect attaching them to the bike. Passengers have no handholds.
An obvious point is that more bikers and their passengers need to wear helmets, experts say. The study found only two-thirds of drivers wear helmets, as well as 57.5% of passengers.
Motorcycle accidents are complex, like any personal injury case. Issues of liability and accident details are key to proving responsibility. Who is going to pay for the pain and suffering of the injured? This is especially true in brain-injury cases, where the victim may need long-term care.
What you have to say about your future
Hitting the road early in the season is a rite of passage for many motorcycle enthusiasts. They hear the call of the road in the early spring and they answer.
The dangers are undeniable, too. Distracted motorists and poor road conditions after a long winter can turn a joy ride into a tragedy.