Middle-aged riders, between 40 and 59, are only 66% more likely to end up with severe bodily injuries than young motorcycle riders, those between 18 and 39.
According to a recent study by Brown University, motorcycles may not be the safest mode of transportation for aging Americans. The study reported that motorcycle riders over the age of 60 are two and a half times more likely to suffer serious injuries than young and middle aged riders. Middle-aged riders, between 40 and 59, are only 66% more likely to end up with severe bodily injuries than young motorcycle riders, those between 18 and 39. The study also found that younger riders are more likely to suffer non-life threatening injuries like sprains and contusions while older riders are more likely to suffer serious internal injuries, like brain injuries. While bone fractures are the most common type of injury among motorcycle riders, the study found, younger riders are more likely to break an arm, while older riders are more likely to sustain upper-torso fractures. The study also revealed that young, middle-aged, and older motorcycle riders had hospitalization rates of 15%, 25%, and 35%, respectively.
Motorcycle riders of any age should always use caution while riding on the open road because the risk of injury from a motorcycle accident is much higher than the risk of injury from a car accident. Where cars are equipped with airbags, seat belts, and a strong metal frame that encloses drivers and passengers, motorcycle riders have none of these. In the absence of these basic safety features, motorcycle riders have to take steps to protect themselves when they ride. Since motorcycles don’t have airbags or seat belts, riders should always wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle. If thrown from a moving bike, a helmet can mean the difference between minor injuries and severe, life changing / life threatening injuries. Since motorcycles offer no protection, riders should wear protective clothing like jackets, pants, boots, and gloves.
Knowing Our Limits
It doesn’t take a university study for us to know that certain activities, like motorcycle riding, pose significantly higher risks to older members of society than younger ones. Before taking up the hobby of motorcycle riding, older riders should seriously consider the risks that they face and any individual factors which may increase those risks (like a weak heart or frail bones). If they think that riding a motorcycle would pose more risks than not, then the idea should be abandoned and perhaps a less risky hobby considered.
Nobody likes to hear that they’ve become too old to do the things they love or to try the things they want to try – but at some point adults have to be adults and think about the far reaching consequences of their actions. When an activity poses a significant amount of risk, the adult recognizes the risk and takes steps to reduce or eliminate it.