A review of risk factors and patterns of motorcycle injuries.

Institute of Injury Prevention and Control, Taipei Medical University, 250 Wu-Hsing Street, Taipei 110, Taiwan, ROC.
Accident; analysis and prevention (Impact Factor: 1.65). 08/2009; 41(4):710-22. DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2009.03.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcycle riders have a 34-fold higher risk of death in a crash than people driving other types of motor vehicles. While lower-extremity injuries most commonly occur in all motorcycle crashes, head injuries are most frequent in fatal crashes. Helmets and helmet use laws have been shown to be effective in reducing head injuries and deaths from motorcycle crashes. Alcohol is the major contributing factor to fatal crashes. Enforcement of legal limits on the blood alcohol concentration is effective in reducing motorcycle deaths, while some alcohol-related interventions such as a minimal legal drinking age, increased alcohol excise taxes, and responsible beverage service specifically for motorcycle riders have not been examined. Other modifiable protective or risk factors comprise inexperience and driver training, conspicuity and daytime headlight laws, motorcycle licensure and ownership, riding speed, and risk-taking behaviors. Features of motorcycle use and potentially effective prevention programs for motorcycle crash injuries in developing countries are discussed. Finally, recommendations for future motorcycle-injury research are made.

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    ABSTRACT: The appropriateness of applying drink driving legislation to motorcycle riding has been questioned as there may be fundamental differences in the effects of alcohol on these two activities. Several psychomotor and higher-order cognitive skills underpinning riding performance appear to be significantly influenced by low levels of alcohol. It has been suggested that alcohol may redirect riders" focus from higher-order cognitive skills to more physical skills such as maintaining balance. The effects of low doses of alcohol on balance ability were investigated in a laboratory setting. The static balance of ten experienced riders was measured while they performed either no secondary task, a visual search task, or a cognitive (arithmetic) task following the administration of alcohol (0; 0.02, and 0.05% BAC). Subjective ratings of intoxication and balance impairment increased in a dose-dependent manner; however, objective measures of static balance were negatively affected only at the .05% BAC dose. Performance on a concurrent secondary visual search task, but not a purely cognitive (arithmetic) task, improved postural stability across all BAC levels. Finally, the .05% BAC dose was associated with impaired performance on the cognitive (arithmetic) task, but not the visual search task, when participants were balancing, but neither task was impaired by alcohol when participants were standing on the floor. Implications for road safety and future "drink riding" policy considerations are discussed.
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