Your motorcycle can offer you freedom, speed, and precision control that's unparalleled by virtually any other type of vehicle. Unfortunately, some of the characteristics that make motorcycles so liberating can make them more likely to be involved in roadside accidents.
For example, the lightweight, sleek design of many smaller bikes gives them incredible handling and speed capabilities, but these features may also make these motorcycles harder for car drivers to see or for motorcyclists to control in slick conditions.
Regardless of the exact circumstances of a roadside accident, however, you must understand what to do once you're out of immediate danger. After you seek emergency medical attention, law enforcement help, and insurance consultation as needed, you may assume you can get right back on the open road.
While you may not need to delay your trip if you don't have any obvious medical or legal complications after an accident, you should stay aware of after effects that you may not notice right away, like those listed below.
When you think about collision injuries, you may imagine scary and highly visible forms of trauma such as broken bones or open wounds. If you don't have any of these acute symptoms at the crash site, you may assume that you're unscathed by the accident.
However, making this assumption can be dangerous, especially if you tell any other involved drivers, legal representatives, or your insurance companies that you're uninjured. If you make this initial statement, any secondary injuries that develop that may have entitled you to compensation may come into question.
Many injuries can take time to manifest. For example, you may not feel the effects of whiplash until your adrenaline levels drop or notice a spinal injury until you attempt heavy lifting.
Even if you walk away with minor scrapes and bruises, be gentle with yourself for at least five to seven days after an accident. Keep in mind that delayed injuries can appear as long as a month after the incident. Common delayed-appearance injuries include:
- Head trauma, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Nerve damage, especially in the extremities
- Spinal injuries
If you do notice any symptoms that could be related to your accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Not only may you need the treatment to recover fully, but the medical records you establish can be essential for insurance and personal injury law purposes.
If you have appropriate motorcycle gear, often this protective clothing will take the brunt of the force involved in roadside accidents. While your gear may ensure that you make it through the collision without any notable injuries, you must also check that your gear hasn't suffered significant damage.
If you slid for any distance on asphalt, your leathers may exhibit scuffs, gouges, or even shredded sections. Similarly, impact can dent your helmet even if the helmet successfully protects your head, and high-speed force can undermine the structure of your boots even if they stay on your feet.
Perform any minor repairs needed as soon as possible, especially on your leather gear. Remember, cuts into leather can reduce the material's ability to repel water and regulate temperature, as well as shorten the individual item's lifespan.
If you notice serious damage to your protective gear, replace the affected items before your next strenuous ride. Prioritize replacing boots, your motorcycle jacket, or your gloves if these items develop holes or other irreparable issues.
Like your body itself, your motorcycle may stand up and run just fine after an accident. However, you should take your first few rides after the collision slowly and conscientiously. Pay attention to any changes in performance that could indicate an issue with alignment or the bike's structural integrity.
Do a visual assessment of the bike. If you notice any leaks or signs that the battery has been compromised, consider having the motorcycle towed from the scene instead of driving it to minimize potential risks to yourself and to the bike.
Additionally, like your protective clothing, you should handle both minor and major repairs to your bike before you attempt to go on your next serious ride. Remember issues that can seem minor when you drive around town may become critical and even lead to a second crash if they come to a head at higher speeds.
If you feel unsure about the condition of your motorcycle after an accident, take the bike to a trusted mechanic for assessment. This trip can also be useful to establish the records necessary to submit insurance and property damage claims if applicable.
The adrenaline of getting through an accident without any acute injuries can give you a heady feeling, but you should not let that rush distract you from the important safety checks you need to run to ensure that you and your equipment stay in good condition.
Use the information outlined above to keep an eye on less obvious and delayed development repercussions that could occur after a roadside motorcycle accident.