Older riders three times as likely to sustain severe injuries
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/18/2013 -- Over the recent decades, the average age for a motorcycle rider has increased right along with the ages of the average American. Now a new report is showing that the injury rates have risen to even greater levels than before, particularly for older riders.
Older bikers have become three-times as likely to sustain serious injuries in even minor crashes as compared to younger enthusiasts. The major distinction is what while the younger riders (20-39) are far more accident-prone, the older group (60+) were found to be much more susceptible to severe injury. Older riders were noted as suffering more head and chest injuries, while they were also more likely to die as a result of the injuries. Bikers in the matured age group were three times as likely to be admitted after an injury as those within their 30s or 20s.
The findings were published within a peer-reviewed journal titled Injury Prevention, and among the conclusions, the authors' note that the older riders experienced far more severe injuries due to physiological effects of the aging process. Boiled down, that roughly translates to the fact that getting older means that you are more likely to be hurt.
"As the body ages, bone strength decreases, subcutaneous and visceral fat distribution may change, and there is a decrease in the elasticity of the chest wall, factors which may lead to more severe injuries after exposure to trauma,” said the report.
The study cites risk factors for older riders, including delayed reaction time, lack of sustained alertness, and altered balance, not to mention worsening hearing and vision. All of these factors, and preexisting health conditions abound, meant that it was easier to see the challenges that made it harder to literally see, or react properly to, the dangers that come with riding.
Noted ways to lessen the likelihood of serious injuries:
- Many older riders may be new to motorcycling, or may have rusty skills. Motorcycle safety courses are recommended for new riders, as well as refresher courses for experienced riders.
- Injury risks increase with age, compounding the inherent risks associated with riding.
- Using a DOT-approved helmet can reduce the risk for head injuries.
- Middle-aged and older riders may benefit from chest protection.
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