Road Warriors — Watch Out

Motorcyclists are already more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal accident than a motorist driving a car. The features that attract motorcycle riders — low profile, wind in the hair freedom of the road — are the same features that took 145 lives in our state alone in 2011. A new study identifies yet another risk factor of bike riding: age.

In a Brown University study published online in Injury Prevention journal, researchers examined the circumstances of roughly 1.5 million motorcycle accidents occurring between 2001 and 2008 that resulted in injury serious enough to seek emergency medical care.

The Brown University research clarifies what older people already know — passage of time means becoming more fragile. Among findings of the study:

  • Of riders over 20, those over 60 were most likely to suffer serious injury and require hospitalization
  • Middle and older age riders suffer more head injuries and broken bones
  • While injury rates for all riders are increasing across the nation, fatalities are rising more rapidly for riders over 60

What is it about age that makes an older adult more vulnerable to injury in a motorcycle accident?

  • Reaction time, strength, visual acuity and balance decline with age
  • Bones thin, muscle mass is lost and chest wall flexibility diminishes, leading to more severe injury
  • Older riders may ride bigger bikes, causing more serious injury upon collision

Last year the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) found little progress is being made to reduce motorcycle fatalities across the nation. Rising fatalities combined with a bump in Baby Boomers riding bikes means fatality rates may not go down any time soon.

If you ride at any age, stay fit, get your vision checked if needed and contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney at our office if you are injured in any transportation accident.