The Boston Globe had this interesting article discussing not only the growing number of older bike riders, but the fact that these motorcycle riders sustain more frequent and severe injuries than younger riders.
The mean age of motorcycle ownership has risen in the past decade from 33.1 in 1998 to 40.2 in recent years. Whether 40 is the new 20 or baby-boomers are reconnecting with their youth, the fact is that bike riders are older in age. The study highlighted in the Globe article, indicates that riders over 40 years old sustain more serious injuries, have longer hospital stays, and increased risk of dying from motorcycle accidents than riders under 40 years of age.
Some of the troubling findings include:
- rib fractures are twice as common for riders over 40
- 32% of bike riders over 40 required stays in the intensive care unit compared to 27% of riders under 40
- Riders over 40 were more likely to suffer from pneumonia, infections, or blood clots
- Older riders are twice as likely to die from less serious injuries
Citing the State Department of Health, the Globe report also shows that in Massachusetts, the rate of motorcycle related deaths and injuries among 55 to 64 year olds increased by 400%.
As the body ages it is less able to deal with trauma and this is the reason cited for these startling statistics. For instance, older riders have thinning bones and less resilient tissue. Older riders are more likely to have pre-existing complications such as diabetes and heart problems.
Finally, the study reported that helmet use is only around 73% for both the under and over 40 age groups. This is far too low for any age rider because wearing a helmet is the single easiest thing one can do to prevent serious injury.