Motorcycle riding is a favorite California pastime. Riders of all ages love the exhilaration and sense of freedom they receive as they take in all the natural scenic beauty the Golden State has to offer. Although few activities provide more joy and excitement than motorcycle riding, it is not without its drawbacks.
Motorcyclists are naturally at higher risk of serious injury if they get into an accident than occupants of other motor vehicles. Riders do not have the same level of protection as someone who is driving or riding in a car or truck, and when something goes wrong, there is not much that separates them from dangers and hazards. As a result, bikers are 28 times more likely to be killed in a crash than other vehicle occupants.
Everyone who rides a motorcycle is vulnerable to being injured in the event of an accident, regardless of their age. But research indicates that senior riders are at greater risk for injury in a motorcycle accident.
Study Finds Motorcycle Accident Injuries are More Severe for Older Riders
A study from the early 2000s that was published by Consumer Reports in 2013 found that motorcycle riders who are at least 60 years of age or older are roughly 2.5 times more likely to require emergency room treatment when they are injured in a motorcycle accident than younger riders (those who are in their 20s and 30s). Those who are middle-aged (in the 40 to 60-year-old category) are not as likely to require ER treatment as those who are over 60, but they are still 66% more likely than younger riders.
Senior riders are also three times more likely to require hospitalization after a motorcycle accident. In addition, hospital stays are typically much longer, because the injuries are more serious, and patients often have other health conditions that must be managed in addition to the injuries they suffer from a motorcycle accident.
It is important to note that senior motorcycle riders get into far fewer accidents than younger riders, but the key finding from the study is that older riders tend to sustain more severe injuries. For example, fractures are the most common type of motorcycle accident injury among all age groups, but the study found that younger riders are more likely to end up with broken arms, while older riders are more likely to suffer upper torso (e.g., chest, neck, shoulder, etc.) fractures.
The findings of the study are not all that surprising. One very unpleasant fact of life is that as we age, our bone strength decreases, and our bones become more brittle. This exposes senior motorcycle riders to a higher risk of major bone fractures when they are involved in an accident.
Prescriptions to Help Protect Senior Motorcycle Riders
The concern about the higher injury risk for senior bikers is important, because there are a growing number of senior motorcyclists on the roads. This is mostly due to aging demographics and more Baby Boomers entering their golden years. Between 2001 and 2007 alone (the time period in which the aforementioned study was conducted), the number of bikers over the age of 60 more than doubled. There is no doubt that the numbers are much higher today, and they will continue to increase for the foreseeable future.
To help senior motorcycle riders stay safe, the authors of the study provided a few suggestions:
- Older riders who are new to motorcycling should take a motorcycle safety course;
- Seasoned riders who are in their 50s and 60s (and beyond) and whose skills may be rusty should take a refresher course;
- Riders should use a DOT-approved helmet to reduce the risk of head injuries;
- Riders who are middle-aged or older can benefit greatly by wearing chest protection.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in California? Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, injuries can be severe, especially if you are a senior. After seeking immediate medical treatment, strong legal representation will be very important. Insurance companies will do everything possible to minimize the amount of they have to pay out to compensate you for your injuries, and a skilled personal injury lawyer will fight for the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.
At Garmo and Garmo, we have extensive experience successfully representing clients injured in motorcycle accidents in San Diego, El Cajon, and throughout Southern California. For a free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys, call our office today at 619-441-2500 or message us through our online contact form.