Baby boomers more likely to suffer serious injuries in motorcycle crashes

When middle-age encroaches and the kids are finally leaving the nest and personal finances are pretty stable, out comes the idea to do something totally different to try to feel that joie de vivre again, and if it’s not buying an expensive red sports car or taking up skydiving, it’s buying a motorcycle and planning a long road trip Easy Rider style, even if Wild Hogs would probably be more age appropriate.

Some people return to riding after taking a very long break, other aging baby boomers just hop on big displacement bikes and think they can handle whatever the road can throw at them, but a word of caution, compared to younger riders, older riders run three times the risk of being much more seriously injured in a crash, according to a new study that was recently published in the Injury Prevention journal.

The study’s objective was to examine differences in age groups and injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes in the US, using emergency department treated injuries data from 2001 to 2008 - about 1.500.000 cases - with the type and severity of injuries among three different age groups, 20–39, 40 to 59, and 60 and older.

The study not only revealed the trend that more and more mature adults are turning to motorcycle riding as a past time, but also that the accident rate for motorcycle riders is also on the rise, with the biggest jump in the 60 and older group, and they weretwo and a half times as likely to end up with serious injuries compared to their younger counterparts, and three times as likelyto be admitted to a hospital, while middle-age adults were two times as likely to suffer injuries.

The injuries most likely to be sustained by the two older age groups were the usual arm fractures and shoulder dislocations, but also severe chest and rib cage fractures and injuries to internal organs, including brain damage.

Researchers suggested the higher injury rates could be due to declining vision and reflex reaction time that makes older riders more prone to accidents and also with age bones become more brittle and there is a loss of muscle mass and there may be also altered balance when it comes to handling heavy bikes.

If you’re one of these older riders, here are a couple of tips that could keep you a little safer, take a refresher training course, buy a good full-face helmet and riding gear with armored protection, and invest in a back protector, and if you don't have the stength to pick up your fallen custom cruiser by yourself, it may time to consider a more compact and lighter bike, especially if you don’t want to give up riding.

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