Analysis of increased motorcycle accidents during the COVID-19 pandemic: a single-center study from Türkiye

Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2024 Feb;30(2):114-122. doi: 10.14744/tjtes.2024.08791.

Abstract

Background: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a unique set of circumstances, straining health-care systems and affecting the way of life in societies around the world. Measures such as social isolation, travel restrictions, and workplace closures have led to an increase in motorcycle use. Consequently, motorcycle accidents have become a significant problem during this period. This study presents detailed research conducted to examine motorcycle accidents during the COVID-19 pandemic and to understand the causes and consequences of the increase in these accidents.

Methods: This research evaluated records from a single health examination and used various models to analyze motorcycle acci-dents within a specified time period. Additionally, retrospective analyses were conducted to examine associations between motorcycle use and crashes in our country before and after the pandemic. The records of 386 patients who were injured in motorcycle accidents and followed up, received treatment, and were recorded at Biruni University Hospital between November 2015 and April 2023 were retrospectively examined. Noted details included the victims' age, gender, injury mechanism, injury site, injury severity, helmet use, presence and location of fractures, time distribution of the accident, and the severity of other important tissue injuries. The relationship between the injury site, fractures, and accident details, and the "Injury Severity Score" (ISS) was also investigated.

Results: Among the 386 injured victims in motorcycle accidents, 333 were male and 53 were female. Of these, 168 (43.5%) were motorcycle drivers, 137 (35.5%) were motorcycle couriers, and 81 (21%) were pedestrians. A total of 186 (48%) injuries occurred before the pandemic (November 2015-March 2020), while 200 (52%) were sustained during the pandemic. The study indicates a noticeable increase in motorcycle injuries, particularly among motor couriers, especially during the pandemic quarantine periods. Post hoc analysis revealed that motor couriers had significantly lower ISS compared to other professions (p=0.009 and p=0.045, respectively). Motorcyclists who wore helmets were found to have significantly lower ISS than those who did not wear helmets (p<0.05). Furthermore, it was found that the ISS was positively correlated with the number of bone fractures, total soft tissue injury, and significant clinical characteristics (r=0.758, r=0.756, and p<0.001, respectively).

Conclusion: This clinical study's findings demonstrate that the measures implemented during the pandemic to limit society's mobility have led to an increase in motorcycle accidents. Notably, there has been a significant rise in the number of accidents, particularly involving individual motorcycle use and motorcycle courier services.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone*
  • Head Protective Devices
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motorcycles
  • Pandemics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Turkey