Motorcycle Road Rash

Every year, thousands of people are injured from motorcycle accidents. Among these injuries are motorcycle road rash. Motorcycle road rash is a colloquial term used to describe when a motorcyclist sustains abrasions from sliding on the asphalt of a road. Motorcycle road rash has different degrees of severity. In some cases, motorcycle road rash can be debilitating for a person.

Degrees of Motorcycle Road Rash

Motorcycle road rash is one of the most common motorcycle related injuries. The numerous cases of motorcycle road rash are divided into three classifications. Motorcycle road rash ranges from first to third degree severity, similar to the way that burns are categorized; although, sometimes medical treatment is not necessary for motorcycle road rash.

Motorcycle road rash may occur in three degrees, including:

  • First Degree Motorcycle Road Rash – The skin becomes reddened, similar to a “rug burn.” First degree motorcycle road rash is not a serious medical condition and does not require medical treatment.
  • Second Degree Motorcycle Road Rash – Motorcycle road rash becomes a second degree injury if the skin breaks. When this occurs, underlying layers of the skin will remain intact, but become visible from the injury. There is a slight chance of scarring from second degree motorcycle road rash. Simple medical treatments are usually enough to treat second degree motorcycle road rash and these treatments can be acquired over-the-counter.
  • Third Degree Motorcycle Road Rash – This is the most serious type of motorcycle road rash. This differentiation signifies complete breakage of all five layers of skin down into fat. Third degree road rash differs from the lesser degrees because the person is then prone to infections from the injury. Third degree road rash is very painful and requires immediate medical care.

Motorcycle Road Rash Treatment

There are a few simple things that a person can do for treating simpler cases of motorcycle road rash. However, if the injury is third degree then the person must seek immediate medical attention. First and second degree cases of motorcycle road rash should be washed and cleaned as quickly as possible to help avoid infection. When cleaning the wound, avoid scrubbing the area since this increases the risk of scarring. Then ointment and bandaging should be applied.

Third degree motorcycle road rash requires more thorough medical treatment because of the severity. Delaying treatment for a third degree case of motorcycle road rash can cause permanent damage to muscles and other tissues. Furthermore, surgery and physical therapy are often necessary for third degree cases, and the patient may also require several weeks of hospitalization.


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Beasley, Daniel. “Top Three Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents.” Article Snatch. N.p.. Web. 26 Jul 2013. <>.

Quinn, Elizabeth. “How to Treat Skin Abrasions and Road Rash.” About. N.p., 04 Mar 2012. Web. 26 Jul 2013. <>.

United States. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Lower-Extremity Injuries in Motorcycle Crashes. 2008. Web. <>.