We described injuries among helmeted motorized two-wheelers injured in a road crash between 1996 and 2003 and recorded by the Rhone Road Trauma Registry in France. The registry data were linked to police data for 3727 riders to describe injuries according to vehicle and crash characteristics.
Extremity injuries were the most common injuries sustained. A substantial proportion of riders sustained head, chest abdominal and spinal injuries, which tended to be severe. Half of severely injured riders sustained severe chest injuries and 44.8% suffer from severe head injuries.
Whatever the body region injured, head-on collisions accounted for more than 30% of injuries. A high proportion of head, facial, chest, abdominal and spinal injuries occurred in single vehicle crashes with a fixed object. Compared to single vehicle crashes with no object hit, those with a fixed object resulted in a higher risk of head, facial, chest and abdominal injury. Collisions between the front of the two-wheeled motorized vehicle and the side of another vehicle resulted in a higher risk of upper extremity injury than single vehicle crashes with no object hit. Head-on, rear-end, broadside and multiple collisions resulted in a higher risk of lower extremity injury than single vehicle crashes with no object hit. The highest risk of lower extremity injury was observed for broadside collisions. Motorcyclists, which accounted for 62.4% of injured riders, had a higher risk of chest, abdominal, spinal and upper extremity injuries than moped riders. The risk of facial injury was greater for moped riders.
The use of safety devices must be promoted as well as their improvement. The attention given to head protection shouldn’t ignore the vulnerability of other body regions. Public awareness campaigns on motorized two-wheeler vulnerability and their crash risks, the improvement of driver experience as well as road infrastructure could contribute to reducing crashes.
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