Residual Injury Situation and Accident Characteristics of Severe Motorcycle Accidents
Published April 2, 2019 by SAE International in United States
Annotation of this paper is available
The total number of persons severely and fatally injured in road traffic accidents has reduced considerably in recent decades. However, the number of motorcyclists involved in accidents has not reduced to the same extent, and some countries have even recorded an increase. The aim of this study is to analyse the circumstances of motorcycle accidents in Germany involving vehicles with a cubic capacity of over 125 cm3 with particular reference to severely or fatally injured riders. An analysis is to be made of the characteristics and patterns of injuries suffered by the most severely injured motorcyclists and proposals developed for injury prevention. The study included accident data from 464 motorcycle accidents collected in Hanover and Dresden between 2010 and 2015 by an academic research team in the course of the GIDAS project (German In-Depth Accident Study). This data represents a statistically representative sample from real accidents occurring in Germany. The analysis of the current injury situation shows that motorcyclists are often severely injured, i.e. suffered injuries of grade MAIS 3+ (so called serious injuries) in 16.9% of cases and thus around 9 times more frequently than car occupants. Motorcyclists wearing helmets suffered head injuries in approx. 20 % of cases. The serious injuries sustained were in particular skull fractures, including base of the skull and traumatic brain injuries are rare. Severe thoracic injuries included in particular rib and shoulder/clavicle fractures, often accompanied by injuries to internal organs. In terms of spinal injuries, the most common serious injuries were fractures of the thoracic spine, followed by fractures of the lumbar spine and cervical spine. In the abdominal area there were often severe injuries in the form of fractures in the pelvic area and accompanying injuries to internal organs. Arm injuries included, besides minor injuries (grazes, bruises, etc.), most commonly fractures of the hands/fingers and forearms, followed by elbow and upper arm fractures. Leg injuries seen in particular were femoral fractures as well as injuries to the muscles and tendons around the knee, also fractures of the shin and calf bones. Around the feet there were many fractures and dislocations of the wrist and ankle joints, as well as toes. The causes of the injuries, which were recorded in detail in the study for the various regions of the body and individual injuries, were most often caused by impact with the road and collision with objects and solid vehicle structural elements of cars and trucks. Serious injuries are linked with high energy respectively high relative impact speed.