Brain Injuries and Motorcycle Accidents

 In Personal Injury

According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 80% of all reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the motorcyclist. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) were the cause of death in more than half of the fatal accidents. Many of these collisions involved a sudden stop which caused the rider to be thrown from the motorcycle, resulting in them striking the ground or objects in their path. If the part of the body striking a hard surface is the rider’s head, some form of brain injury is almost certain if the rider is not wearing a properly fitting helmet. Even if the head does not directly come into contact with another surface a brain injury can occur. A sudden blow to the head that causes the brain to collide with the inside of the skull can cause a TBI.

Helmets: The Best Prevention

Wearing a helmet is the single most effective way for a motorcyclist to reduce the risk of TBI in an accident. Wearing a proper helmet can save a rider’s life. One U.S. study showed that non-helmeted riders sustained head injuries at more than twice the rate of helmeted riders.

There are important guidelines for the proper selection and use of helmets. The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine recommends the following:

  • Make sure the helmet fits your head snugly. Wearing a helmet that is too tight or too loose defeats the purpose of wearing the protective gear.
  • The helmet should cover your head. The front of the helmet should cover your forehead and should be secure. It is important that your helmet isn’t too big or too small.
  • Have a clear path of vision when wearing your helmet. You should be able to see straight in front of you and from side to side without the helmet being a distraction.
  • Purchase an approved helmet. In Ontario, helmets must conform to one of five approved safety certifications.
  1. Canadian Standards Association Standard D230 Safety Helmets for Motorcycle Riders
  2. Snell Memorial Foundation
  3. British Standards Institute
  4. United States of America Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218
  5. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Regulation No. 22

Better technology is making helmets more resistant to crashes and smarter. Helmet-mounted displays using augmented reality for navigation allow riders to keep their focus on the road. Integrated 360 degree cameras give riders a wider view of the roads, including blind spots. Voice controlled commands free up drivers’ hands to maintain control of their bike.

In The Event of a Head Injury

Unfortunately, even the most attentive motorcycle rider can fall victim to the negligence of another driver. If you sustain an injury to the head in a motorcycle accident, the first thing to do is to get immediate medical attention and be assessed for a potential brain injury. Should you suffer a brain injury it is equally important to follow the recommendations of your treatment providers to maximize your recovery.

This blog post was written by Edward (Ted) Masters, a member of the Disability Insurance Claims and Personal Injury teams.  He can be reached at 613-566-2064 or at

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