This report reviews the findings from 86 motorcycle accidents during a 1-year period
at the Trauma Center "Bergmannsheil" in Bochum, Germany. A study of the case histories
supplemented by telephone conversations yielded the following results: 90.7% of the
patients were men, and the average age was 28.8 years; most of the accidents occurred
in the 25- to 30-year-old age group (27.9%). Motorcycle accidents happened mostly
during recreational rides on weekends in the summertime. Although there was a high
rate of helmet use (98.8%), the head region was affected in 12 victims. Two patients
died because of their severe head injuries (2.3%). Lower extremity injuries (46%),
especially open tibia fractures (19.7%), were among the most common injuries sustained.
Fractures of the distal radius constituted the largest portion of upper extremity
injuries (18.8%). The average stay in our hospital was 35.4 days; 23.4% of the patients
had to change jobs after the accident. Fifty percent of the crashes happened with
motorcycles between 500 and 750 cc stroke volume. Although 34.5% possessed their driver's
licenses for more than 8 years, they had not had much experience handling a motorbike.
These results underline the fact that motorcycle accidents are sustained by young
men in their working prime; as a result, these accidents pose a tremendous burden
to individuals and society and every attempt should be made to offer highly qualified
surgical and trauma care to minimize the damage to the motorbiker. A plea is made
for more prevention measures like driver education, better road conditions, or legislative
changes to prevent motorcycle crashes. The wearing of a helmet is strongly advocated.