N.C. State Highway Patrol reported that an 18-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a wreck with a vehicle on Rains Mill Road near Old Cornwallis Road Saturday afternoon. The victim was Tyler Dean Smith, of Princeton. Smith crossed the center line and hit a minivan head-on according to the report.
Authorities said that the driver’s inexperience played a part in the collision. Evidently, Smith had not completed the mandatory training class and subsequent test required to receive an endorsement to drive a motorcycle. There were no injuries sustained in the minivan.
Once a collision involving a motorcycle occurs, or the rider has lost control through some other mishap, several common types of injury occur when the bike falls:
Collision with less forgiving protective barriers, or badly placed roadside “furniture” (lampposts, signs, fences etc.). This is often simply a result of poor road design, and can be engineered out to a large degree. Note that when one falls off a motorcycle in the middle of a curve, lamps and signs create a “wall” of sorts with little chance to avoid slamming against a pole.
Concussion and brain damage, as the head violently contacts other vehicles or objects. This risk is massively reduced by wearing properly fitting, standards-approved head protection.
Breakage of joints (elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and wrists), fingers, spine and neck, for the same reason. The most common breakages are the shoulder and the pelvis.
Soft tissue (skin and muscle) damage (road rash) as the body slides across the surface at speed. This can be prevented entirely with the proper use of motorcycle-specific protective apparel such as a leather jacket or reinforced denim and textile pants.
There is also a condition known as biker’s arm, where the nerves in the upper arm are damaged during the fall, causing a permanent paralysis of arm movement.
Facial disfigurement, if in the absence of a full-face helmet, the unprotected face slides across the ground or smashes into an object. Thirty-five percent of all crashes show major impact on the chin-bar area.