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Press fears Scooter Injury

Press fears Scooter Injury

A Sydney newspaper reports on how we as scooter riders need to protect ourselves from the serious nature of riding a scooter.

Scooters are being used as a headline grabber these days and the weekend press thought the need to remind all of us scooter riders that danger could be just around the corner.

This from the weekends Sydney Morning Herald,

Riders at risk without the leathers

SYDNEY'S love affair with scooters has a price, say doctors and ambulance officers who are seeing a growing number of riders injured because they don't wear protective clothing or full-face helmets.

There are more than 6200 scooters on NSW roads, including about 1870 registered last year alone, as motorists struggle to beat rising petrol prices and Sydney's congested traffic. But experts fear riders are not taking the dangers seriously.

"When people buy a scooter, they are in love with the image promoted by advertisers, so you have plenty of young girls in short skirts and heels riding around the streets," the chairman of the Motorcycle Council of NSW, Guy Stanford, said. "Well, sorry, the crash statistics say it's all the same, whether you're on a scooter or a motorcycle. If you come off and you're not wearing protective gear, such as jackets with body armour, gloves, boots and eyewear, you can find yourself … inconvenienced for months."

Or dead, says the Roads and Traffic Authority, which points out motorcycle riders are 16 to 20 times more likely to be killed in a road accident than a car occupant.

Despite that, many scooter riders wear half-face helmets, which don't protect the chin and teeth and rarely come with visors to protect the eyes from common dangers, including insects and burning cigarettes thrown from cars. Only 51 per cent of riders wear leather boots, which can prevent fractured bones piercing the skin and infections from gravel and grease on the road. Only 38 per cent wear motorcycle pants.

Mr Stanford, who believes half of all motorcycle injuries could be reduced or prevented if people wore protective clothing, said cheaper helmets, usually the half-face versions, were often heavier and put extra stress on the neck and spine in an accident, while riders who wore jackets without body armour were at risk of chipping bones in their elbows or vertebrae.

The most common injuries from motorcycle falls or crashes included fractured skulls, bruising and bleeding on the brain, compound fractures of the leg and infections caused by gravel rash, but some injuries were particular to fashion-conscious female scooter riders, an emergency physician at St Vincent's Hospital, Fiona Chow, said yesterday. "We had someone recently who was wearing a scarf which got caught in the wheel of her scooter. She was OK, but if it had been tied differently around her neck, she may been strangulated," Dr Chow said.

A spokeswoman for the NSW Ambulance Service said paramedics were seeing more injuries from riders wearing inappropriate footwear.


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