You’ve been riding a motorcycle since you were a teenager and have never had a crash. That is until today. On your way home from your buddy’s weekly game night, you attempted to turn right at the intersection by your house when an SUV ran the light and sideswiped you. Your bike skidded about 20 feet down the road, with you underneath it. Thankfully, you weren’t thrown from the bike or crushed by it. In fact, from what you could tell you had a bit of road rash but that was it. By the time you stood up, the SUV was long gone, so you picked up your bike and walked it the half block to your house.
Needless to say, when you got home you weren’t in the best of moods, but you put the bike in the garage and went in to clean yourself up. As soon as you walked in the door, your wife screamed and told you she was taking you to the hospital. You looked down and saw that your entire pant leg was soaked in blood and there were pieces of gravel and dirt stuck inside the gash on your leg. You tried to tell her that it looked worse than it really was, but she wasn’t having any of it. She grabbed her purse and pushed you toward the car.
Why all the fuss? It’s only a cut. You can clean it up yourself. It’s not like it’ll kill you...right?
Potential Road Rash Complications
There are currently over eight million motorcycles registered throughout the United States. Although the thrill of the ride is obviously becoming more and more popular, motorcycle crashes and injuries are also increasing. According to motorcycle-related crash data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motorcyclists are nine times more likely to be injured than anyone else in traffic crashes. As a result, over 200,000 of the eight million registered bikers suffer serious injuries every year. Unfortunately, the CDC predicts that this number will further increase by 55% by the end of 2015.
These injuries vary from crash to crash and can be as minor as a few cuts to as major as severe brain injury and death. However, the one thing that the majority of all motorcycle injuries have in common is road rash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 90% of motorcycle injuries result in some sort of skin laceration akin to road rash.
Although road rash may seem like a minor inconvenience compared to potential brain damage, without proper care, a simple cut could lead to severe and even life-threatening complications. These road rash risks include:
- Scarring: depending on the severity of your road rash, as well as how quickly you heal, you could possibly escape a road rash injury without permanent scarring. However, for the majority of road rash victims, scarring is inevitable. When a crash scrapes the top layers of skin off your body, new skin must form to close the wound. This new formation is tighter than normal skin (in order to keep the wound closed), and doesn’t produce hair follicles or sweat glands. During recovery, your skin may also become inflamed, damaging healthy skin and melanin cells, and making the new skin a different color than the skin around it. These types of scars are usually permanent (although they can fade over the course of years), possibly disfiguring (depending on where they’re located) and can affect large areas of the body.
- Bacterial infections: since road rash can expose tissue, muscle and bone, debris, dirt and bacteria can easily become introduced into your blood stream. This makes road rashes extremely susceptible to bacterial infections. One of the more debilitating types of infections you can acquire is called MRSA. MRSA is a bacterial staph infection that is resistant to most antibiotics, and is therefore hard to treat. It spreads easily and can infect your lungs, urinary tract and bloodstream. If not treated quickly, MRSA and other blood infections can cause fatal organ failure.
- Edema: road rash infections can cause increased swelling around the injured area, producing large amounts of excess fluid. This fluid disrupts blood flow, causes an enormous amount of pain and affects organ and muscle functions.
Decreasing Risk and Saving Lives
With the increase of motorcycles on our roads, the need for cycle safety is more important than ever. Many hardcore bikers believe that road rash is a badge of honor, without realizing how dangerous rash complications can be without full treatment. Show your support by helping your motorcycle friends get the information they need to learn their potential risks. Simply click the media icons to share this page on your social network. Remember, they may not know their risks until it’s too late. By sharing this information, you can help prevent serious pain and life-long regret.
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