Older Bikers More Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Accidents

people riding motorcycles

While the thrill and excitement of riding a motorcycle may not diminish with age, a recent study says that the older you get, the more likely you are to be injured in a motorcycle accident.

Brown University researchers studied data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which monitors a representative sample of emergency rooms. They found that:

  • There were about 1.4 million injuries to bikers over the age of 20 between 2001 and 2008. Eighty-five percent of the victims were male.
  • Most of the injuries happened to younger people, but the number of incidents involving people over 50 increased by the highest margin – 247 percent.
  • Riders over the age of 60 were two and a half times more likely to end up with serious injuries.
  • Older riders had the highest rate of hospitalization, with 35 percent requiring a stay. They also sustained the most fractures, internal organ damage, and head and neck injuries.

Experts say that a number of factors may contribute to these statistics. First, declines in vision and reaction time may leave older riders susceptible to making mistakes. Researchers also theorized that because older bikers tend to ride bigger motorcycles, they're more likely to be involved in rollover accidents. Finally, researchers cited the fragility that comes with age. An accident that a younger person can walk away from may mean a hospital stay for an older biker.

Sources: "Aging Easy Riders Beware." The New York Times. February 8, 2013.
"Not easy riders: Aging bikers 3 times more likely to get injured." TodayHealth.com. February 7, 2013.