When covering heads can save lives

Motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in traffic accidents than motorists and car passengers


Ali Ousat October 14, 2017

LAHORE: As the traffic lights flash green during peak morning rush hour on Mall Road, motorists and motorcyclists engage first gear and whizz towards their destinations. Suddenly, a car rams into two motorcycles from behind and the riders go flying off their two-wheelers.

One of them, saved by a protective helmet, quickly recovers and resumes his journey. The other man, who is not wearing one, is less fortunate. The man falls unconscious due to his head injuries and is rushed to the Mayo hospital.

Traffic police urge bikers to use helmet

Protective gear such as helmets save lives and several motorcyclists, who are oblivious of their use, are 26 times more likely to die in traffic accidents than motorists or car passengers, data compiled by Rescue 1122 shows.

It has also been discovered that over the last few years, the number of deaths of motorists and car passengers has declined, while fatalities in motorcycle accidents have doubled.

Muhammad Khalid, who works at a local firm, and has been injured in the accident, says all motorcyclists should wear helmets and other safety gear while riding motorcycles. “The helmet is a blessing for us as it can help us prevent fatal head injuries.”

Khalid, lying on a stretcher, has several stiches on his head. “I remember how a car crashed into my motorcycle. I was unconscious for almost 10 minutes,” he recalls.

“Although I did not suffer severe head injuries after I hit my head on the ground, even minor wounds can be fatal at times.”

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Dr Khurrum Hussain, who works at the emergency ward of the Jinnah Hospital, says that those who wear helmets actually manage to save their lives. “Motorcyclists must wear helmets,” he stresses.

Jinnah Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Sohail Saqlain tells The Express Tribune that scientific research is necessary on the youth’s behaviour on the road to save the lives of young men and women.

“Why have we failed to implement laws and why do our youths not wear helmets despite knowing the fact motorcycle riding can be fatal?”

Dr Saqlain says everyone understands that wearing a helmet is mandatory, but unfortunately nobody adheres to the laws.

Dr Muhammad Tariq, who works as an assistant professor in the neurosurgery ward at the Kind Edward Medical University, says motorcyclists mostly suffer road rashes, facial fractures, disfigurement and broken bones. The injuries can also lead to disabilities such as limb amputations, spinal cord injuries, paralysis and traumatic brain injuries. “If your skull cracks or damages, it can be cause concussion and even brain damage. Brain damage is not only debilitating, it can also be fatal.”

Dr Tariq says a lot of motorcyclists suffer from neck and head injuries. “Neck injuries can paralyse and possibly kill, so protecting the head and neck are of utmost importance when riding a bike.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2017.

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