The rising burden of serious thoracic trauma sustained by motorcyclists in road traffic crashes

M. R. Bambach*, R. J. Mitchell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In many countries increased on-road motorcycling participation has contributed to increased motorcyclist morbidity and mortality over recent decades. Improved helmet technologies and increased helmet wearing rates have contributed to reductions in serious head injuries, to the point where in many regions thoracic injury is now the most frequently occurring serious injury. However, few advances have been made in reducing the severity of motorcyclist thoracic injury. The aim of the present study is to provide needed information regarding serious motorcyclist thoracic trauma, to assist motorcycling groups, road safety advocates and road authorities develop and prioritise counter-measures and ultimately reduce the rising trauma burden. For this purpose, a data collection of linked police-reported and hospital data was established, and considerable attention was given to establishing a weighting procedure to estimate hospital cases not reported to police and fatal cases not admitted to hospital. The resulting data collection of an estimated 19,979 hospitalised motorcyclists is used to provide detailed information on the nature, incidence and risk factors for thoracic trauma. Over the last decade the incidence of motorcyclist serious thoracic injury has more than doubled in the population considered, and by 2011 while motorcycles comprised 3.2% of the registered vehicle fleet, one quarter of road traffic-related serious thoracic trauma cases treated in hospitals were motorcyclists. Motor-vehicle collisions, fixed object collisions and non-collision crashes were fairly evenly represented amongst these cases, while older motorcyclists were over-represented. Several prevention strategies are identified and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-258
Number of pages11
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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