Since motorcycles are significantly smaller and slimmer than the grand majority of cars and trucks on the road, they are often the ones most critically damaged in a crash. Motorcycle accidents can also expose their riders to a greater risk of injury, since they do not have the protective benefit of a car’s outer shell. Due to these factors, negligent, distracted, and intoxicated drivers pose a particularly serious threat to motorcyclists.
However, if another driver does cause a motorcycle accident, there are certain precautions riders can take to protect themselves. For example, new data has revealed that one of the most important things a rider can do is remember to wear their helmet. Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles have published new analysis in the Journal of the American College of Surgery linking helmet usage to a decreased risk for spine injuries.
The UC Los Angeles team drew their information from a database which tracks motorcycle injuries nationwide. They found that, if involved in an accident, riders who protected their heads were 22 percent less likely to suffer a cervical spine injury.
The cervical spine is a vulnerable part of the body which begins at the base of the skull and performs important functions such as protecting the spinal cord and supporting the skull. Damaging your cervical spine can carry grave and debilitating consequences.
In addition to reducing their chances for spinal injury, motorcyclists wearing helmets were also 65 percent less likely to suffer from a brain injury and 37 percent less likely to die in a crash.
While this research suggests that wearing a helmet can significantly limit the chance of certain injuries, no amount of safety precautions can completely protect any motorist from the bad driving habits of their fellow drivers. Motorcycle riders face a particularly high risk of being injured by negligent drivers, in which case they have every right to seek legal compensation.
Source: Medpage Today. “Helmets cut cervical spine injuries, too.” Nancy Walsh, 9 February 2011.