Off Road Motorcycling Injuries

Unlike most cars, motorcycles can be taken off road. The questions one must ask are whether or not this increases the type of injury and what kinds of injuries these riders get. One study looked at the types of injuries and the outcome of these injuries in off road motorcycling and compared them to injuries sustained in on-road accidents. They looked at helmet use, injuries, length of stay, surgeries, the number of transfusions, the Injury Severity Score, and the presence of death from these injuries. A five year period of time was looked at.

In the study, they found that motorcyclists on the road and off the road wore helmets at the same rate. They had the same problems with loss of consciousness, Glasgow Coma Scale, Trauma score, and injuries to the hand, wrist, forearm, upper arm, clavicle, foot, ankle, upper leg, pelvis, head or spine injuries. Motorcyclists who drove on the road were more likely to need a blood transfusion and more likely to have skin trauma, blunt abdominal trauma or blunt chest injuries. It appears from this study that it is more dangerous to drive motorcycles on the road when compared to off the road. It turns out that the rate of death was more severe in on-road motorcycling.

Children and teens have the capability of riding motorcycles, either as passengers or as drivers, even in cases where it is illegal to do so. In one year, about 245 motorcycle riders died and about 56,870 riders were treated in the year 2003 in US hospitals for injuries. At least 13 motorcycle riders under the age of 20 were killed in accidents involving off-road motorcycle injuries. Apparently off road motorcycling has become increasingly popular among young people.

The CDC looked at data gotten from the National Electronic Injury System-All Injury Program. The years 2001 to 2004 were looked at. They found that approximately 23,800 off-road motorcyclists under the age of 20 were treated for injuries they sustained in an off-road accident. Only the non-fatal patients were looked at as fatal accident victims may have been sent directly to the morgue. The information was gathered through medical records and hospital codes. A motorcycle was defined as a road bike, a dirt bike, a trail bike, a moped, a motor scooter or a mini-bike. Three wheelers and four wheelers were excluded.

In the end, 1,319 patients under the age of 20 were included. Those with the highest nonfatal injury rate were between 12 and 15 years of age. In fact, those less than 16 accounted for almost 70 percent of all injuries. A total of 88 percent of all injured persons were boys and 97 percent were drivers as opposed to riders on the motorcycle vehicle. A total of 7.5 percent were hospitalized following their injury. Seventy percent were riding trail bikes or dirt bikes at the time of their accident and 20 percent of all injuries occurred in specialized motocross areas. Those injured in motocross areas had more severe injuries and were more likely to be hospitalized following their injuries. About 9 percent of injuries occurred during a motorcycle jump and 5 percent of injuries happened when two motorcycles collided.

Fractures or internal injuries accounted for 39 percent of all major diagnoses and most of the time (62 percent) the injury was to the extremities.

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