This retrospective study describes the nature and severity of disablement resulting from motorcycle crashes (both traffic and non-traffic). Two hundred and fifty motorcycle crash victims were randomly selected from the total population of motorcycle crash victims (n = 1510) who had received compensation for disablement in the year ending 31 March 1990. Information on the nature and extent of disablement was obtained from official accident compensation files and coded according to the International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities, and Handicaps. Extremity injuries predominated, especially to the lower limb. The majority of these were fractures. Most commonly impairments occurred in the areas of 'skeletal', 'disfiguring' and 'generalized' impairment. Mechanical impairment of a limb was reported in 68% of cases, often with associated disfigurement. Disability mostly involved problems with locomotion and problems coping with physical stresses at work. Occupational handicap was the most common handicap reported, with mobility handicap the next most common. The shortcomings of this study included its retrospective design and the variable quality of the information on disablement. It was most likely, though, that these factors contributed to an underestimation of disablement in the study group.