Orthopaedic surgeons offer safety tips to motorcyclists and motorists
ROSEMONT, Ill. - Motorcyclists will be the first to tell you, it’s the thrill of the ride and the wind in their hair that keeps them riding.
With more motorcycles on the road than ever before—increasing 84 percent from 1998 to 2007—and approximately 2.3 million motorcycle injuries reported in 2013, according to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)—the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) would like to remind drivers to make every ride count.
Orthopaedic surgeons are the doctors most often called upon to treat motorcycle injuries—including fractures to the leg, foot, arm, wrist and spine—but would prefer that motorcycle drivers and passengers enjoy the ride without injury.
“As an orthopaedic trauma surgeon, I see people with devastating injuries such as fractures and head trauma as a result of motorcycle accidents,” said AAOS spokesperson and OTA President Theodore Miclau, MD. “Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles on the road and so it’s often difficult for motorists to see them. For this reason, it’s important for motorists to not only keep an eye out for riders but be extra cautious and listen for them as well.”
The AAOS and OTA offer safety tips to riders and motorists:
- Avoid distracted driving. Anytime a distraction needs your attention, simply stop your vehicle in a safe area and respond. Follow the AAOS and Auto Alliance wreck-less checklist.
- Take a motorcycle safety training course. A motorcycle safety training course provides the best way to learn the knowledge, skills, and behavior to be the safest motorcycle rider. Even if you are an experienced rider, consider taking a refresher course or a specialty riding course, to make safety a lifelong priority.
- Always wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a fatal motorcycle crash by 37 percent according to NHTSA. The "right" helmet has a "DOT" label to show that it meets U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) safety standards, fits securely to the driver's head shape and size, protects the face, and has adequate ventilation to enhance cooling and reduce fogging.
- Choose or purchase a motorcycle with anti-lock brakes. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) prevents the wheels from locking up when braking, reducing the risk of a fatal motorcycle crash by 31 percent.
- Avoid driving in inclement weather. Slick roads, especially with rain can make turning and braking more difficult.
- Wear high- visibility protective gear. According to NHTSA, high-visibility gear enables other drivers and motorcyclists to see you from a greater distance and in inclement driving conditions. Protective gear includes jackets, pants, boots and gloves.
- Always follow traffic laws, ride the speed limit, and never ride after drinking. If you plan to drink alcohol, make plans ahead of time for another, sober motorcycle operator to drive your motorcycle, or leave your motorcycle somewhere safe.
Orthopaedic surgeons restore mobility and reduce pain; they help people get back to work and to independent, productive lives. Visit ANationInMotion.org to read successful orthopaedic stories.
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About the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons