Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries

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Thumbnail image for Motorcycle riders in the sunset.jpgBoomers have some extra time on their hands once they “retire” and many of them are avid bike riders. I enjoy talking with these folks who have loved biking for years or have started later in life and find great enjoyment in the open road — especially our wonderful Georgia backroads.

But a recently published study has some cautionary statistics for boomer riders. In their study Tracy L. Jackson and Michael J. Mello examined injury patterns in motorcycle accidents and looked at age group differences for those patterns. They took data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program to evaluate those treated in emergency departments for bike crashes from 2001 to 2008. What they found is particularly interesting to me as an Atlanta motorcycle crash lawyer, since I work hard to get the medical and legal rights that bike accident victims deserve.

Essentially, the numbers made it clear to the researchers that injuries increased in all age groups for the period 2001 to 2008 — but the rate of increase was largest among those 60 and over. in fact, that age group was more likely to be hospitalized. In addition, the injuries were more severe within the older age group which led the researchers to conclude that “[o]lder adults involved in motorcycle crashes are prone to more severe injuries than younger adults.” The risk for this group is higher than younger riders who might recover more quickly or more fully than older riders.

In the time frame studied there were 1.5 million motorcycle crash injuries in those age 20 or older, those in the older group had a very high rate of increase. There were about 4,300 injuries in 2001 and about 15,100 injuries in 2008 which represented a nearly 250% increase. Other age groups’ injuries increased about 60 percent.

Boomer bike riders are more likely to be hospitalized for their injuries as well, by about three times. Perhaps due to bone changes as we age, fractures and dislocations which are common for all injured bikers in accidents, were seen by the researchers to be in greater numbers for the older group. Other injuries were more likely in the older group as well — such as brain and organ injuries.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for motorcycleriderleg.jpegIn late September, a motorcyclist was killed after crashing into a guardrail on Interstate 95 in northern Camden County, Georgia. The crash happened after a pickup truck had just overturned. This occurred because the pick up truck had the misfortune of blowing out a tire. Having represented motorcycle riders and their families as an Atlanta motorcycle crash lawyer, it is often the case that circumstances on the road — such as the tire blowout and the overturning of the truck — end up causing a rider’s injury or death.

Sadly, in this accident, the rider could not maintain control of his bike and ended up crashing into the guardrail just as the pick up truck had … he was killed.

Riders know that guardrails can be very dangerous for bike riders. When riders collide with a stationary object like a guardrail, severe injuries and death can occur. In fact, the statistics for fatalities when riders hit guardrails are dismal. Many fatalities for riders involve guardrail collisions. Research indicates that motorcycle crashes that involve a rider hitting a guardrail have a much higher fatality rate than motorcycle crashes in general.

A study from Virginia Tech notes that “from 2000-2005, the number of car occupants who were fatally injured in guardrail collisions declined by 31% from 251 to 171 deaths. In contrast, the number of motorcyclists fatally-injured in guardrail crashes increased by 73% from 129 to 224 fatalities during the same time period.” Even with a helmet, bikers can be killed hitting a guardrail and bikers are 80 times more likely to be killed than car occupants when hitting a guardrail.

The type of guardrail on our roads may need to change before these statistics improve. Steel guardrails that are seen across America are very dangerous for bikers — they can have sharp edges and are narrow. But the expense involved in changing these guardrails is too great to realistically accomplish this across the country.

The effort instead has been to educate riders on how to safely manage the roads and circumstances they can face. This includes the use of approved helmets that can protect you when you ride, riding sober and knowing your bike after training on it.

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candles .jpgLate last month, a former football player and star of his alma mater team at Buford High School was in a very serious motorcycle accident on Georgia 20 in Gwinnett County. He sustained serious injuries and has been fighting for his life since the accident. As a Gwinnett motorcycle accident lawyer, I share the sorrow of the entire community as we mourn the loss of this young man who passed away today.
Mr. Devin Durden who was only 21 years of age, has played football for the Air Force Academy. As reported by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution he had undergone surgeries at the Gwinnett Medical Center after severing his spine and sustaining other injuries in the crash. During his struggle, reports state that he was on a respirator, was taken off it but then contracted pneumonia and was put back on the respirator.

The accident is one that sadly, we have seen many times when bikes collide with vehicles. In the tragic accident, Mr. Durden was traveling on Georgia 20 when an SUV apparently pulled out in front of his bike close to Gravel Springs Road. He was thrown off his bike and sustained the injuries that ultimately ended his life.

A family friend broke the news of this young man’s passing. All hearts are broken who knew him and those of us who did not are filled with sadness. According to the family spokesperson, he had such severe and complex injuries, he was not able to survive them. The family is known for their dedication to youth and sports as his father is the head girls basketball coach at Buford High.

Please join with me in prayers for his family as they grieve this tragic loss. There is no greater pain than the loss of a child. This young man was a fine person from a fine family. I have worked with many families in situations like this and as a motorcycle injury lawyer, I take on the tasks that are difficult for them to bear when the loss is so profound.

But it is never easy to mend the broken hearts of parents dealing with such a loss and we share the pain of this loss with this family and all others who are dealing with the illness or injury of a child or young person.

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