Motorcycle Accidents…Impacts & Damage!
Many motorcycle accidents over many years, and I’ve seen all sorts of damage to all sorts of bikes and parts.
However amidst all the carnage, splintered plastics and broken headlights, the damage that always catches my eye is usually that which is immediately less obvious.
It’s those parts on the bike that tend to yield so much more information about the kind of impact speed and the type of object collided with and it’s those parts that make my eyebrows leap and then furrow soon afterwards when I’m often heard whispering… “What the f**k happen here then?”
Usually a frontal impact tends to bend & twist fork stanchions, occasionally breaking and cracking yokes because the ‘higher’ part of the front suspension is the pivot point for the bike in an initial impact. However, every so often, normality is put to one side and more damage occurs lower down, even to the point where the sliders are cracked or snapped, but the stanchions and yokes seem relatively ok.
This aberration is usually associated when the front and lower forks tend to get trapped between two other points. E.g. a curb and a high bumper on a van, where the front end slides into the rear and submarines beneath, which causes the ‘snap’ to occur lower and there is less pivoting higher up.
When I look at motorcycle damage, it will tend to indicate what kind of injury we might expect…If I see a deformed petrol tank, especially from the crotch area moving forward, then that would indicate a high impact load as the pelvis & crotch were propelled forward which would indicate probable injury in that area.
When I see snapped handle bars or grips, that would indicate a high load on the wrists, arms and shoulders, etc.
A bike can appear to be totally destroyed, but it may only be cosmetic damage, but when the stronger areas of the bike are broken, cracked or twisted…such as the frame or wheels…then this may indicate a component weakness but highlights a potentially worse injury and something even more immediate.
When a motorcycle has a high load impact with a solid object, then all of the impact energy is transferred to the motorcycle…there is little in the way of crumple zones on a bike, however the deforming wheels, forks & tank etc do absorb a little energy.
The rider is also then subject to those forces but the extent is determined by what the rider then collides with also…do they impact the first solid object? Are they propelled clear initially? Do they then collide with another object? Do they land on hard or soft ground, etc?
When I see a cracked or broken frame, this indicates a high load to the bike and possibly to the body, with probable internal injuries, some of which may be treated at scene and some severe damage to arteries and organs…which may not be survivable!