West Virginia has a population of around 1.8 million. Of those, almost 57,000 have a registered motorcycle. So, it is likely one out of 33 people in the state rides a bike.
In 2016, 29 motorcycle crashes resulted in fatalities. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports 80% of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death compared to 20% of car crashes.
Catastrophic motorcycle injuries
Other cars, drunken driving and the weather can play a part in bike crashes. Injuries resulting from these accidents may leave a person with a bruised wrist, suffering in the hospital with multiple broken bones or in a coma. No matter the damage, he or she may be off the motorcycle for several weeks or more. However, there are devastating injuries that may keep a person from ever riding again.
- Loss of limb
Being thrown and dragged several feet with an arm, leg or other extremity pinned beneath the bike may cause irreparable damage. An amputation may not happen at the time of the accident, but the seriousness of the injury may force doctors to remove a limb.
- Traumatic brain injury
WV Code 17C-15-44 states that no person may operate or be a passenger on a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing a protective helmet. Although helmets may significantly reduce the chances of brain damage, a traumatic brain injury could still happen, and not all helmets have the same effectiveness. The rider may receive a TBI from a sudden blow or jolt to the head because of falling or getting thrown from a motorcycle.
- Spinal cord injury
This injury may leave a rider partially or totally paralyzed. The severity depends on what part of the spinal cord sustained damage. Neck injuries may cause quadriplegia, while thoracic injuries may affect only the lower body. Thoracic injuries are more prevalent in motorcycle crashes. Recent studies show that wearing a helmet may lower the likelihood of cervical spine injury.