Mortality due to road traffic accidents increases each year in Sri Lanka where 30% were motorcycle accidents (MCAs). Research on injuries due to MCAs in Sri Lanka is scarce and based on police data. This study sought to identify dependence of extremity injuries of motorbike riders with safety gear they were wearing.
Demographic and clinical data from 410 motorcycle riders admitted to the orthopedic wards in Teaching Hospital Kurunegla with extremity injuries due to MCA were collected between February and July 2015 using consecutive sampling method. Patients who consented for the study were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Ethical approval was obtained from Hospital Ethics Committee. Data were analyzed using SPSS software to identify the association between safety gears and injuries in different injury sites (Upper Extremity, Hand, Lower Extremity and Foot) separately.
56% of patients had a single injury and 70% had closed fractures with the majority of injuries in the right hand side. Distal radial fracture is the most common upper extremity injury (12%) and Tibial fracture is the most common lower extremity injury (23%). 60% of the accidents are low impact accidents where slip and fall (26%) is the most common accident type. Chi square analysis shows associations between footwear and foot injuries (p-value-0.001) and safety jacket and upper extremity injuries (p-value-0.002) among MCA victims.
This study shows that using safety gears injury occurrence and severity of injuries can be minimized in MCAs, especially for low impact accidents. However few motorcyclists were wearing safety gears (shoes-19%, jacket-10%, gloves-1% and protective lower clothing-17%) because Sri Lanka doesn’t have proper standards and legislations for this. Therefore it is necessary to ensure that motorcyclists use proper safety gears.