Last Updated: 2/9/2023

There are several types of motorcycle burn injuries: road rash, exhaust burns, windburn and fires. Each type of burn injury discussed below comprises various causes and circumstances. Regardless of the nature of the injury, any type of serious burn requires immediate medical attention.

Road Rash Injuries

Road burn injuries, also known as road rash, are the scrapes and bruises riders sustain when their skin scrapes along the road after being thrown from or dragged by the bike during a motorcycle accident. When the skin scrapes against pavement or gravel, serious injuries can occur that require hospitalization and long periods of healing.

There are three basic types of road burn injuries:

  • Deep scrapes – When the rider’s body scrapes on the pavement at high speeds, the wounds may be such that they require stitches. Open wounds such as this and other burn injuries have a high risk of infection, so special attention is needed to prevent or treat infection.
  • Bruising and compression injuries – If the rider gets caught between his or her bike and the road, serious bruising and crushing injuries can occur.
  • Avulsion injuries – Several layers of skin may be damaged, exposing and causing damage to underlying muscle or fat tissue. Serious skin burn such as this may require surgery and skin grafting.

Exhaust Burns

Exhaust burns occur when the rider or passenger accidentally makes contact with the exhaust pipe. These injuries can be extremely painful and cause permanent scarring.

Researchers at Athens University Medical School in Greece published a study in Burns of exhaust burn injuries from motorcycle accidents and compiled the following data:

  • Most exhaust burn injuries occurred below the knee on the right leg;
  • The passenger, not the rider, sustained more than 70 percent of the injuries; and
  • More than 65 percent of victims sustained second-degree burns.


Windburn occurs when the force of the wind damages the outer layer of skin. It can be very painful and cause the skin to burn more easily in the sunlight. It’s unsightly and causes painful, dry, itchy skin. Wearing a helmet with a visor could help keep the wind off the face while riding.

Burns from Collisions

A mechanical or gas fire can cause motorcycle burn injuries. Upon collision, gasoline or other fluids can ignite and explosions can occur, causing serious, sometimes life-threatening, injuries. Combustion, fluid leaks and faulty wiring may all be factors in a motorcycle fire.

Burn injuries are categorized as first-, second-, and third-degree burns, and the tending physicians will treat them accordingly. Riders who’ve sustained burns need to speak to their doctors about risks of complications, including scarring, infections and damaged nerve issues.

Consulting a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.2 million people were treated in the emergency room in a seven-year span for non-fatal motorcycle-related injuries.

If you or your loved one sustained motorcycle burn injuries in an accident for which someone else was responsible, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. Call Walker, Billingsley & Bair to discuss your legal options. Contact us today at (888) 435-9886 to schedule a free consultation. 

Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.