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 Orthopedic 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 accidents.
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. What’s 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 orthopedic 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
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
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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