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Motorcycle crashes cause 5 times more deaths than car accidents

Researchers have found that motorcycle crashes cause five times as many deaths, three times as many injuries, and cost six times more in medical expenses compared to car crashes. Despite safety improvements, injuries from motorcycle accidents remain the same.

The research team used data on adults admitted to the hospital between 2007 and 2013 for injuries sustained from motorcycle or car accidents. The analysis was focused in Ontario, Canada, with a population of more than 13.6 million people.

Over the course of the study, 26,831 people were injured in motorcycle crashes and 281,826 were injured in car crashes. People with motorcycle accident injuries were younger, with an average age of 36 years. They were also 81 percent more likely to be men than those injured in car accidents.

Motorcycle accidents were found to not only cause three times the injuries, but these injuries were also 10 times as severe as those sustained in car accidents. In addition, motorcyclists experienced six times the medical costs and five times the number of deaths. People with injuries from motorcycle crashes were much more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit compared with car crash victims.

Study co-author Daniel Pincus is a PhD candidate at Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and an orthopedic resident physician at Sunnybrook Hospital.

“We know that the additional risk associated with driving a motorcycle has not translated into improvements in motorcycle safety,” said Dr. Pincus. “So we hope that estimating the medical costs of care for motorcycle crashes may provide an additional incentive to improve safety.”

This was the first study of its kind to estimate the medical costs for motorcycle accidents on a large scale.

“Although exact health care costs vary in other health care systems, we argue that the conclusions drawn from the relative comparison of motorcycle to automobile crashes apply beyond Canada to the rest of the developed world,” said the authors of the study. “For example, in a privately funded health care system, insurance companies and individual providers may accept a larger share of the direct healthcare costs than we have estimated in this study.”

The research is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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