Which Body Region Is Most Likely to be Injured in a Motorcycle Crash?


Motorcycle riding, while thrilling and liberating, carries with it an undeniable risk. One moment of distraction or lack of protective gear can lead to serious injuries impacting not just the rider's health but their entire life. In this blog, we will discuss the regions of the body that are most vulnerable to being injured in motorcycle accidents.  

Most Injured Body Regions in Motorcycle Accidents  

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 82,680 motorcyclists suffered injuries in accidents in 2021. Here are the regions of motorcyclist's bodies that are most vulnerable to attack:  

1. Lower Extremities  

Lower extremity injuries often result from direct impact with:  

  • other vehicles,  

  • the road, or  

  • stationary objects.  

They can also occur when a rider is thrown from their bike or when the bike lands on top of them. Skidding, a common occurrence in motorcycle accidents, can also lead to serious lower extremity injuries due to the friction between the rider's body and the road. 

The legs, particularly the knees and shins, are highly vulnerable in motorcycle accidents. Injuries can range from minor bruises to severe bone fractures, as well as road rash, dislocations, and soft tissue injuries. Riding boots and knee guards can provide additional protection. 

Hips are prone to injuries due to their proximity to the motorcycle. In a collision, the hip can be directly impacted, leading to fractures or dislocations. Wearing motorcycle pants with built-in hip protectors can help reduce the risk of hip injuries. 

Feet injuries are common in motorcycle accidents, often resulting from the bike falling on the rider's foot or direct collisions. These injuries can be minimized by wearing sturdy, over-the-ankle motorcycle boots. 

2. Head  

Head injuries are among the most dangerous outcomes of motorcycle accidents. Riders can suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), concussions, or skull fractures. Helmets significantly reduce the risk but cannot entirely prevent head injuries, especially in high-impact crashes.  

Per NHTSA statistics, motorcyclists were approximately 24 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident. Additionally, the likelihood of sustaining injuries in such accidents was four times higher for motorcyclists compared to occupants of passenger vehicles.  

One of the key risk factors is the lack of protective barriers between the rider and the road. In the event of an accident, the rider can be thrown off the motorcycle or strike an object at high speed, leading to severe injuries, including head trauma or even death. 

3. Neck or Thorax  

Among the common body regions that are injured are various neck and throat injuries. These injuries can be the result of sudden impact, blunt force trauma, or whiplash caused by poor safety gear, motorcycle accidents, and reckless driving.  

The most common neck and throat injuries that occur include:  

  • Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the head is jerked back and forth abruptly. It is common in motorcycle accidents when riders are thrown off their bikes. Symptoms may include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.  

  • Blunt trauma injuries to the neck or throat can lead to serious injuries such as fractures, lacerations, or bruising of the trachea (windpipe). This can happen when a rider is thrown from the motorcycle and lands on the neck or throat. 

4. Face  

Facial injuries can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. They can lead to physical disfigurement, which may result in psychological distress and lowered self-esteem. Severe injuries can result in functional impairments, requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. The recovery process can be long, often involving surgeries, physiotherapy, and potential lifestyle changes.  

While full-face helmets and other protective gear can help avoid more serious facial injuries, these injuries are sometimes unavoidable. Common facial injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes include:  

  • Facial bone fractures. These injuries, affecting areas like the nose, cheekbones, and jaw, are common in motorcycle crashes. These can occur when a rider lands face-first on the ground. Not only are these injuries painful, but they can also lead to long-term complications such as difficulty speaking, eating, or even breathing.  

  • Eyelid lacerations and cornea scratches. These injuries can be caused by flying debris and can rapidly worsen over time, affecting your vision. 

  • Dental injuries. Dental injuries, such as broken or knocked-out teeth, are also common in motorcycle accidents. These can lead to significant aesthetic concerns, speech issues, and difficulty eating. 

  • Facial abrasions and lacerations. Cuts and abrasions to the face are common injuries for motorcyclists. Although these might not sound serious, they can lead to scarring and disfigurement. 

5. Abdomen  

Motorcycle accidents can commonly lead to the following types of abdominal injuries:  

  • Organ damage. The force exerted during a motorcycle accident can lead to organ damage. The liver and spleen are particularly vulnerable due to their location within the abdominal cavity. 

  • Hernias. A hernia is a condition where an organ or adipose tissue protrudes through a vulnerable point in the surrounding muscle or connective tissue. The sudden impact iof a motorcycle crash can cause this type of injury.  

  • Rib fractures. In a motorcycle accident, the impact can cause fractures to the ribs, which can, in turn, puncture or injure the abdominal organs. 

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a bulge that occurs in the lower part of the aorta, the major blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. While typically caused by the weakening of the blood vessel walls, it can also result from blunt trauma like that experienced in a motorcycle accident.  

These injuries often occur due to the lack of protection around the abdominal area during a motorcycle accident. A rider can be thrown off the motorcycle, leading to a direct impact on the abdominal region. Even with protective gear, the force from a high-speed accident can cause internal injuries. 

Read our blog, “Internal Injuries from Motor Vehicle Accidents,” to learn more about common abdominal, chest, and internal injuries that can be sustained in motorcycle accidents. 

6. Spine  

The spine is another vulnerable area in motorcycle accidents. Damage to the spine can result in paralysis, either partially (paraplegia) or fully (quadriplegia). Wearing a good quality back protector can help mitigate spinal injuries. 

7. Arms & Hands  

Motorcycle accidents can result in a variety of hand and arm injuries, given that these body parts are often instinctively used to break a fall or withstand an impact. One common injury is road rash, which occurs when the skin is scraped against the pavement, leading to painful abrasions.  

Fractures are also prevalent, particularly to the wrists and arms, caused by the forceful impact during a crash. The delicate bones in the hands can be easily broken or dislocated, and high-speed collisions can even result in traumatic amputations. Riders may also sustain nerve damage in their arms, a condition known as "rider's arm," where the nerves in the upper arm are significantly damaged, potentially leading to permanent paralysis of the arm. 

Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Contact Us Today!  

The Law Office of Joseph A. Lazzara, P.C. can help you pursue compensation if you or a loved one are injured in a motorcycle accident. Call (720) 809-8262 to discuss your legal rights and options with our team.