Many bikers believe that your first road rash scar is a right of passage. If you don’t have at least one scar, they say, then you’re not riding enough. Unfortunately, these “trophy scars,” although common in the biker world, are not something you should covet, as they can be extremely painful and debilitating.
Road rash is a somewhat misleading term for an otherwise serious injury. A “rash” implies a simple skin irritation that will eventually go away; road rash is anything but that. A more accurate term for this type of injury is “road burn.” Road burns occur when exposed skin is dragged, scraped, and pressed into the ground with a lot of force and velocity. This dragging generally causes the exposed skin to peel off or become lacerated as a result of gravel and abrasive ground covering. In addition to the open wounds caused by the accident, foreign debris such as dirt, stones, and accident debris can become lodged in the wound, promoting infection.
So, now that you know what it is, can you really think of it as a trophy? Or would you rather learn more about your risks so you can protect yourself against it?
Types of Road Rash Injuries You Should Know About
Not all road rash injuries are equal. Although they can all be considered painful and require treatment, some are more severe than others. Varying factors of an accident (speed, collision type, biker reaction, etc.) determine the type of injury you’ll sustain, as well as its severity. This is why it is important to know the difference between minor cuts and scrapes, and the road rash that accompanies lacerations, avulsion injuries, and compression wounds.
- Lacerations. Scrapes and cuts requiring stitches, known to medical students as lacerations, are a common form of road rash. They occur when you scrape against a rough surface, often at high speeds. Stitches may be required to close the exposed area and promote healing. Although these injuries are minor compared to avulsion and compression wounds, they still require proper medical attention in order to clean them and remove possible infection-causing debris.
- Avulsion injuries. Avulsion injuries are when the outer layer of your skin is stripped away, and occurs when you’re thrown off your bike or dragged underneath it. You can easily identify these injuries as underlying layers of muscle, fat, and bone are generally exposed.
- Compression injuries. A compression injury is exactly what it sounds like: when your skin is damaged due to excessive pressure. It usually occurs when a part of your body is trapped between your bike and another object, such as the road, a tree, car, or building. The pressure, weight, and movement of the objects can cause abrasions, bruising, crushing, penetrations, or even the severing of limbs.
Trophy or Nightmare? How Do You Feel About Your Risks?
Given the fact that road rash injuries can be extremely painful and leave you with lasting scars and permanent reminders of an accident, do you think bikers should be proud of them? Should these types of injuries be revered, or fought against? Do you think better protection should be developed and required, or should riders be able to choose how safe they want to be? If you suffer from road rash would you be proud, or would you want justice for your injuries?
In the comment section provided, please share your thoughts, concerns, and stories. By leaving a few words, you can not only help us learn more about societal opinions, but your experiences could also help others get the extra knowledge and support they need when filing a motorcycle injury claim.
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