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Older Motorcyclists At Higher Risk Of Serious Crash Injuries

Published March 5, 2013 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

Motorcyclists over the age of 60 are three times more likely to be hospitalized after a motorcycle crash than younger bikers, a new study suggests.

The most common injuries: ribcage fractures and chest trauma.

A study published in the journal Injury Prevention examined 1.5 million adults who needed emergency treatment following a motorcycle wreck.

Older riders – those 60 and above – were three times more likely to wind up in the hospital than drivers in their 20s and 30s. And they were two and a half times more likely to suffer a serious injury.

The researchers believe that reduced bone strength in older adults – plus their ability to buy more expensive and powerful machines – are factors contributing to their heightened risk.

Following is from a BBC report:

The authors of the study said, “The greater severity of injuries among older adults may be due to the physiological changes that occur as the body ages, bone strength decreases, fat distribution may change and there is a decrease in the elasticity of the chest wall.

“Other factors such as a delayed reaction time, altered balance and worsening vision may also make older adults more prone to crashing.”

They point out that underlying illnesses like cardiac disease, hypertension and diabetes may also increase the risk of complications.

In conducting their research, the researchers studied patient admissions at 100 U.S. hospitals between 2001 and 2008.

Among their other findings:

  • Upper body fractures were more common in older adults.
  • Arm, shoulder and hand fractures were more likely in younger drivers.
  • Older adults are more likely to buy bikes with larger engines, leading to more severe injuries.
  • Safe-driving courses and test tracks – which are more common in England than the U.S. – help improve driver skills and cut down on injuries.
  • Safety equipment such as helmet and chest protectors help reduce the severity of motorcycle injuries.


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