Motorcycle, off-road vehicle safety as weather warms up (Healthy You)

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — It’s that time of year again, Saturday morning motorcycle rides and taking the ATV out for a spin.

If you have a need for speed, especially in something other than a car, safety should always come first.

Dr. Joshua Schacter’s typical attire is a leather jacket, boots, a helmet, gloves and pants. That is when the orthopedic surgeon rides into work on his own motorcycle.

“Motorcycling is never going to be completely safe, but neither is life,” United Regional Orthopedic Surgeon Joshua Schacter, DO said. “What we want to do with motorcycling is we want to educate, we want to practice our skills and we want to use and wear the proper equipment.”

Schacter knows all too well the ramifications of not following the rules of the road.

“The problem with a lot of these injuries is that they’re life-changing,” Schacter said.

As the weather heats up and the days get longer, more people are out hitting the roads or the dirt.

“When we do these types of activities, we want to make sure that we have the skills to do them, that we have our equipment in good shape so that our protective equipment can do what it needs to do and so the machine can do what it needs to do,” Schacter said. “Then we really do need to make good decisions.”

In the 52 motorcycle accidents in 2020, 23 bike riders took off with no protective gear. Out of the 55 ATV wrecks, and one death, 41 weren’t wearing anything to prevent injury.

“We wanna make sure that our helmets are approved by the Department of Transportation, so it’ll have this little DOT certification sticker,” Schacter said. “The most important part of the glove is to have reinforcement on the palm because if we hit the pavement or the dirt we want to be able to have that glove protect us without wearing through quickly.”

Don’t hit the road either without boots that go past the ankle, a thick jacket possibly with extra armor inside and pants.

“We see a lot of head injuries in patients who refuse or weren’t able to wear a helmet for whatever reason, we see a lot of long-bone injuries so fractures of the thigh bone, the shin bone,” Schacter said. “These long bone injuries cause major pain and disability to patients oftentimes they’ll require surgical intervention if not more than one surgical intervention and they can be disabling for life.”

For example, one patient of Schacter’s has a long road ahead of them. They weren’t wearing any protective gear, breaking the upper arm bone among a long list of other injuries, now requiring surgery.

“It takes six to eight weeks and even three months in some cases for these long bones to heal and then the patient would require physical therapy for six weeks to three months or even six months or longer,” Schacter said.

Oftentimes these life-altering accidents happen because of poor judgement.

“We might feel that there’s a difference in riding your motorcycle off-road versus on-road, but drinking and riding a dirt bike is just as bad as drinking and riding a road bike,” Schacter said.

So before riding off into the sunset, Schacter encourages riders, like himself, to pump the brakes and check all the boxes.

An important part of motorcycles, ATVs or dirt bikes is having the education to hop on in the first place.

Schacter suggests those interested take a learn-to-ride class at Red River Harley Davidson.

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