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Motorcycle Crashes: Older Bikers Are At Higher Risk

Many older Americans have discovered motorcycling – with more disposable income and time, the hobby is increasingly attractive to many Boomers. According to new data from a national study, however, these same motorcyclists are most at risk of suffering a serious injury in a crash.

This study used data collected by the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System between 2001 and 2008. Around 1.5 million American adults (defined as anyone over age 20) required ER treatment after a motorcycle accident. When the researchers broke this data down by age, however, they found that motorcyclists over age 60 were three times more likely to require in-patient treatment. The same age group was two and a half times more likely to suffer a serious harm in a crash, including spinal cord injuries.

Some unsurprising factors are likely to blame for this increased risk. Older adults often may be more physically vulnerable because of bone loss and less “elasticity in the chest wall,” according to one of the researchers behind this study. Other preexisting medical conditions can contribute to the consequences of an otherwise less-severe injury.

This research might present another problem for older motorcyclists: proving that an accident is responsible for the victim’s harms can become unexpectedly difficult. A defendant could, for example, try to argue that a victim’s back pain is the result of a preexisting condition rather than a direct consequence of the crash.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help victims secure the compensation to which they are entitled after a crash – careful forensic investigations can provide the evidence needed to prove the source of a motorcycling injury.

Source: BBC News, “Older motorcyclists ‘more likely to be injured’,” Anna-Marie Lever, Feb. 6, 2013

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