The journal Injury Prevention published a study this month indicating that older adults may face a significantly increased rate of injury in motorcycle accidents. According to the study, motorcycle riders over the age of 60 are 300 percent more likely to be hospitalized after a motorcycle accident than younger riders. The study may have significant implications as more Americans enter the at-risk age group.
From 2001 to 2008, approximately 1.5 million people over the age of 20 suffered injuries that required emergency treatment due to motorcycle accidents. Riders in their 20s and 30s were one-third as likely to be hospitalized as bikers over 60. The older riders also sustained serious injuries 2.5 times as often as the younger riders.
The authors of the study cited several factors as contributing to the increased likelihood of hospitalization. First, older adults often suffer from reduced bone strength that might lead to more severe injuries from a crash that a younger adult would walk away from. Second, the study authors mentioned that older riders may have the resources to buy more powerful bikes than many younger riders. The larger, more powerful motorcycles could be causing older riders to suffer more serious harm when an accident does occur.
Older riders may also suffer from slower reaction times, declining vision and altered balance more often than younger riders. Before taking up motorcycling for the first time, a rider of any age needs to get the training and skill they need to operate safely. Motorcycles offer an excellent opportunity for older people to enjoy the Florida weather. The accident statistics are simply a reminder to make sure you have the training and knowledge you need to travel safely.
Source: BBC News, “Older motorcyclists ‘more likely to be injured’,” by Anna-Marie Lever, 6 February 2013