Have you noticed how many senior motorcycle riders are on the road these days? In the past 20 years, the average age of motorcyclists has increased.
As a class, motorcycle enthusiasts are vulnerable to crashes. However, older riders suffer more serious injuries than younger riders. Why is that?
More motorcycles registered
The number of motorcycles on the road increased from 8.4 million in 2014 to 8.6 million in 2016, a year when motorcycle fatalities were the highest in eight years. Motorcycle registrations were on the rise, which accounted in part for the increase in deaths, but AAA reports that deaths among older riders rose more than 20 percent from 2015 to 2016.
Injuries for older riders
Findings from one study indicated that motorcyclists aged 60 and over are more prone to serious injuries than their younger counterparts, and this is primarily due to physiological issues brought on by the aging process. Risk factors include delayed reaction time, worsening vision, a decrease in bone strength and visceral fat distribution. Broken bones and severe head injuries are common in motorcycle crashes, but the 60-and-over crowd must also contend with a reduction in chest wall elasticity; thus, chest injuries happen frequently to seniors who are involved in vehicle-motorcycle collisions.
More hospital visits
Injuries among older riders are severe enough to require a trip to the hospital. In fact, they are three times more likely to be admitted to a hospital than riders in their 20s and 30s. At this point, another element arises: Seniors have long medical histories, which may complicate the motorcycle injuries themselves as well as the treatment.
Compensation for damages
As if the serious injuries they suffer are not enough to worry about, there is also the matter of filing a claim to cover the cost of medical care, pain and suffering and more. Insurance companies are not particularly sympathetic to motorcyclists and may try to blame a rider for a crash that their policyholder actually caused. The bottom line is that older riders who suffer severe injuries deserve full and fair compensation—so they can rest, recover and get back on the road again.