Avoiding motorcycle injuries

October 26, 2008

Escalating gas prices have caused many drivers to switch to driving just two wheels.

But more motorcycles and scooters on the road means more accidents - and fatalities.

Brand-new figures from the National Transportation Safety Board show that although highway fatalities dropped by 4 per cent last year, motorcycle deaths rose by 6 per cent.

And past research shows that motorcyclists are nearly 60-percent more likely to die in an accident than someone in a car or truck.

Dr. Daniel Dent, a trauma surgeon at the University of Texas Medical Center, says, "Over the past 5 years, we've seen an 80 per cent increase in motorcycle admissions for trauma. We're also seeing more severe injuries in Texas, and a lot of states in the United States because of the repeal of motorcycle helmet laws."

In Pittsburgh, Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger escaped permanent disability in his cycle crash, but there was sharp criticism because he was riding without a helmet.

Juan Portela started riding his motorcycle to work, and got seriously hurt when a car broadsided him.

Juan says, "On impact, I thought I had crumbled, but as it turns out, from the police report, I actually flipped over the car, at which point I head the driver of the car get out and yell right away - I did not even see him."

The accident crushed Juan's wrist, broke his arm, elbow, and 5 ribs.

He has had months of physical therapy, but some things are still difficult.

"Opening a door is still a little bit difficult, a door handle, opening a bottle, or can of Coke," he says.

Juan was wearing a helmet, and is convinced it saved his life.

The Automobile Association of America says it takes two to prevent motorcycle and scooter injuries -RIDERS who are trained, wear helmets, and respect traffic laws, and DRIVERS who stay clear of motorcycles and always use turn signals.

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