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Understanding Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Motorcycle waiting for green light as traffic goes through an intersection.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, which serves as a reminder for all drivers to share the road and look twice for motorcyclists. Unfortunately, despite efforts to promote safety and awareness, motorcycle accidents still happen due to the reckless actions of other drivers.

In a crash, bikers are at a higher risk of injury and death than drivers of other passenger vehicles because, unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles don't have seatbelts or airbags and offer no enclosed barrier between the rider and the road. As a result, the injuries sustained in motorcycle wrecks tend to be catastrophic, underscoring the importance of sharing the road with bikers safely.

Top 10 motorcycle accident injuries


Broken bones are a prevalent injury in motorcycle accidents, including fractures in the arms, legs, hands, feet, ribs, and collarbones.

Road rash

Road rash refers to skin abrasions and lacerations that result from sliding across the pavement during a motorcycle accident. It can range from minor scrapes to severe wounds such as "friction burns" requiring skin grafts and prolonged medical attention. Victims are also at risk of developing infections from road rash.

Biker's Arm

Biker's arm occurs when a rider is thrown off their motorcycle during a crash and instinctively reaches out to break their fall using their arms. The force of impact can result in significant trauma to the upper extremities, leading to nerve damage and other injuries.

Head and brain injuries

Head injuries are a significant concern in motorcycle accidents, even with helmet usage. They can range from concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) to skull fractures and internal bleeding.

Spinal injuries

Motorcycle accidents can cause spinal cord injuries, resulting in paralysis or loss of motor function. These injuries can be life-altering and may lead to permanent disabilities.

Soft tissue injuries

Damage to soft tissues, such as muscles, tendons, cartilage and ligaments, is common in motorcycle accidents. Sprains, strains, and tears in these tissues can cause pain, swelling, and limited mobility.


Joints can be dislocated during a motorcycle accident, particularly in the shoulders, hips, and knees. Dislocations require immediate medical attention to reduce and stabilize the joint.

Internal injuries

Motorcycle accidents can cause internal injuries, such as internal bleeding and organ damage. These injuries may not be immediately apparent and can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Facial injuries

Facial injuries, including fractures of the jaw, cheekbones, nose, and eye sockets, can occur due to impact with the ground, objects, or the motorcycle itself.


In motorcycle accidents, riders can suffer burns from contact with hot engine parts, exhaust pipes, or road surfaces. These burns can range from mild to severe, requiring medical intervention and possibly skin grafts.

How to safely share the road with motorcycles

  • Be aware of your surroundings: Always be vigilant and actively scan your surroundings for motorcycles. They can be less visible than larger vehicles, so it's crucial to check blind spots and mirrors frequently.
  • Maintain a safe following distance: Keep a safe distance of at least 3 to 4 seconds when following behind motorcycles, leaving ample space for sudden maneuvers or stops. Motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars, so allow for extra space to avoid rear-end collisions.
  • Use turn signals: Signal your intentions early and clearly when changing lanes or making turns. This helps motorcyclists anticipate your movements and react accordingly.
  • Check for oncoming motorcycles: When turning left at an intersection, double-check for any oncoming motorcycles before proceeding. Failure to yield to a motorcycle can result in severe accidents.
  • Give extra space during lane changes: Motorcycles may be in your blind spots, so check your mirrors and look over your shoulder before changing lanes. Provide enough space and time for motorcyclists to maneuver safely.
  • Avoid distractions: Minimize distractions while driving, such as using mobile devices, eating, or engaging in other activities that can divert your attention from the road.
  • Observe speed limits: Adhere to posted speed limits and adjust your speed according to road conditions. Excessive speed reduces reaction time and can make it difficult to respond to hazards and changes in traffic.
  • Be cautious at intersections: Intersections are common areas for motorcycle accidents. Look carefully for approaching motorcycles, particularly when making left turns, as it's easy to misjudge their speed and distance.
  • Use mirrors properly: Position your side mirrors correctly to reduce blind spots and maximize your visibility of motorcycles. Regularly check your mirrors to be aware of your surroundings.
  • Be patient and respectful: Motorcycles have the same rights on the road as other vehicles. Avoid aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating or honking, and give bikers the same courtesy you would offer to any other driver.

Contact a Vancouver, WA motorcycle accident lawyer

At The Scott Law Firm, PLLC, we realize the challenges injured bikers face and are dedicated to supporting motorcycle accident victims in Vancouver and throughout Southwest Washington. Unfortunately, insurance companies have biases against motorcyclists and will do everything possible to shift blame or downplay the severity of injuries to minimize their financial liability and protect their bottom line.

We are committed to fighting against these biases and ensuring that motorcycle accident victims receive the full and fair compensation they deserve. With our in-depth knowledge of motorcycle accident cases and experience in dealing with insurance companies, we are prepared to handle the complexities of your claim and fight for the outcome your case deserves.

Don't wait to take action. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help with your potential legal case.

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