A new study based on emergency room statistics correlates age to an increase in motorcycle injuries, and though it's not the first time we've heard that message, the news reminds us that older riders face unique challenges when it comes to two-wheeled transport.
The findings reveal two basic trends: a rapid growth in older riders, and their higher likelihood of injury. Back in 1990, roughly 10 percent of riders were over the age of fifty; by 2003, that number climbed to approximately 25 percent... meanwhile, injury rates for older riders soared, as much as 145 percent between 2000 and 2006. Not surprisingly, the resulting injuries for older riders end up being more dramatic, with higher incidence of fractures, dislocations, and organ damage. Middle-aged riders are also twice as likely to be hospitalized following a wreck.
Researchers suggested the higher injury rates could be due to inevitable circumstances like declining vision and reaction time, as well as the fact that older riders tend to gravitate towards bigger and heavier bikes which are harder to handle, but is there something older riders do to reduce their risks? Personally, I'd suggest refreshing your skills by taking a course by a trained professional-- heck, I always recommend that for enthusiasts of all ages. It's also a good idea to evaluate whether or not your motorcycle's bulk is preventing you from being in total control of your machine, and whether it's time to trade in that big-bore bike for something more compact. Some riders with balance issues might also want to consider trikes, and if you're not entirely confident of your ability keep the shiny side up, there's absolutely no shame in hanging your helmet up to entirely remove your exposure risk.
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