The warmer months are finally here, and with them come more motorcycles on Illinois streets, roads and highways. Sadly, this, in turn, means more motorcycle accidents. Whether you are a committed or casual rider, it can be a good idea to review the defensive riding rules and protective gear requirements.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cautions that operating a motorcycle takes more skill and coordination than you need when operating a car. It also reports that the rider dies or sustains injuries in 80 percent of motorcycle accidents. While wearing a helmet reduces your risk of death by up to 35 percent, it might not prevent you from receiving serious injuries if you crash, the most common of which are the following:

  • Bone fractures
  • Road rash
  • Head injuries

    Bone fractures

    As you know, your motorcycle does not stand upright without support. So, if you are in a crash, it will likely fall over, possibly trapping your leg underneath and fracturing it. According to the Centre for Neuro Skills, broken legs are by far the most common type of motorcycle injury. Other common types of fractures you could suffer include the following:

    • Arm
    • Wrist
    • Shoulder
    • Pelvis

    Road rash

    Because your motorcycle does not encase you like a car, your body will likely come into contact with the road surface if you crash. Without the proper protective clothing, your skin could be seriously damaged. In the most minor road rash situations, you receive a first-degree abrasion and your skin is not actually broken. In a second-degree abrasion, the surface of your skin breaks, but its inner layers remain intact. In a third-degree abrasion, not only is your skin surface broken, but your underlying fat and tissue layers are completely exposed. This type of injury generally requires immediate emergency medical attention.

    Head injuries

    One of the most fearsome head injuries you can receive in a motorcycle crash is a traumatic brain injury. Even if you are wearing a proper helmet, it cannot protect your brain from violently moving back and forth within your skull when your head hits the pavement. This extremely forceful movement can cause your brain to dysfunction in ways that may not be immediately apparent, but the results of which may last a lifetime and permanently disable you.

    Among your best defenses against motorcyclist accidents are to drive defensively, wear protective gear and always be aware of the traffic around you. While there is no way to guarantee everyone you share the road with will act responsibly, you can take steps to protect yourself.