Observations on motorbike accidents

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This is so far the correct and safer way to drive a motorbike. May Cambodians do it?

The Cambodian Motorbikes’ War still on, without any sign to decline. The victims keep the same profile: young men 15 to 25 years old, driving without helmet and many of them with alcohol in their blood at the moment of the incident. There are campaigns around the country on the media and boards along roads and streets, but nobody seems to care: people continue driving without helmet. During this weddings’ season, you can see young men drinking beer as water and after driving their motorbikes without any control. What can we do? Fines seem to work well, but it comes under a corruption network. At the end, people use a helmet only for fear to a police’s fine, but they don’t seem to connect the use of helmets to the protection of their own lives. In Colombia – where there are many traffic accidents too and also related with drunken drivers – the government established a new legislation that includes the removal of the drunken driver’s license and a fine of more than 500 US dollars… In consequence, traffic accidents caused by drunken guys reduced in 50% in the last three months!

I went through the media trying to understand the logic of a motorbike accident and I got the following conclusions:

– Traffic accidents became a main reason of mortality in the world, according to the Health World Organization. 1.2 million persons died every year in the world due to a traffic accident (2009). 46% of traffic accidents involve motorbikes.

– In a motorbike traffic accident the driver or passenger has 70% more probabilities to die than the ones on a car. It comes from the fact that the car covers the persons in a certain way, protecting them more from the impacts than what a motorbike can do. The only real physical protection in a motorbike is the helmet, because the head is the most vulnerable part in a motorcycle accident.

– There are four kinds of motorbike accident:

1. Primary impact: When the motorbike crushes a moving or static object (a car or a tree.)

2. Falling down: When the motorbike fall due to slippery floor, a bad break or other reason.

3. Dragging: The driver and/or passengers are dragged through the floor or air at the same speed that the motorbike had before the impact. So the person would impact a static object.

4. Flattening: It happens when a truck or a heavy vehicle goes over the motorbike.

– There are three types of impact:

1. Frontal Impact: The front part of the motorbike is suddenly stopped at the impact with a moving or static object, but the driver and the rest of the motorbike continues at the same speed, going over the front part. It makes that the driver’s body makes a circle, hitting his head and thorax.

2. Angular Impact: Trying to avoid the impact, the driver turns a little the motorbike and hit in a lateral way. This impact affects especially his arms and feet and it is less dangerous than the frontal impact that affects especially the head and thorax.

3. Launching Impact: The driver is launched over the motorbike and his/her body goes over the space at the same speed the motorbike had at the moment of the impact, hitting objects along until stopped by a static object. In this impact, all the body suffers and thus is the most dangerous.

– The more affected parts of the body during a motorbike’s accident:

1. The head is the most vulnerable part of the body during a motorbike accident and it causes the 50% of dead.

2. The thorax and abdomen are the second most vulnerable part and they caused the 25% of dead.

3. The backbone is the third more vulnerable part. If it is affected, the cervical spine gets the bigger impact and it causes instant dead or quadriplegia.

– Some characteristics of motorbike accidents in the world:

1. Men are more vulnerable to motorbike accidents than women.

2. Persons between 15 and 25 years old.

3. Weekends have more traffic accidents.

4. Persons of middle and lower classes are more vulnerable.

5. In the 60% of cases the drivers have used alcohol or drugs.

6. Motorbikes of high velocity are more vulnerable to traffic accidents.

– Recommendations to reduce motorbike’s accidents:

1. Being more strict to give driving license to people (men under 16 years old should not drive.)

2. Create effective campaigns on the media for prevention.

3. Increase controls on drunken drivers especially on weekends and holidays, including the removal of driving licence and high finds.

4. People must use safety customs when driving a motorbike. Every passenger must wear a helmet, jackets, boots and globes. During the night drivers must use reflective vest.

5. Car drivers must learn to respect motorbikes.

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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

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