Now that spring is here, motorcycle riders are getting their Harleys and Yamahas out of the garage, polishing them up and taking them out for a spin.
Many of these riders are baby boomers who finally have the time and wherewithal to indulge in fast, two-wheeled enjoyment. However, the injury and mortality rate for senior motorcyclists is rising.
Crash data tells the tale
Motorcycle registration continues to increase, so it follows that motorcycle injuries and fatalities also increase. Researchers from AAA analyzed federal crash statistics, which indicate that fatalities for riders aged 60 and older are in excess of four times the 2016 increase in motorcycle deaths. According to the AAA report, fatalities among baby boomer motorcycle riders increased by almost 22% from 2015 to 2016.
More severe injuries
While seniors may not be in as many accidents as their younger counterparts, the injuries they sustain when they do crash are often more severe: broken bones, head and spinal injuries and injuries to the chest and vital organs. Part of the problem is simply physiological. As people age, bones become more brittle, eyesight becomes blurrier and reflexes become slower.
What to do
Because of these issues, older riders must make it a point to drive more defensively. It is also a good idea to take extra training, even if the rider has experience. Many riders are adding extra lights to their motorcycles so they can be more visible and looking into new technological advances in safety features for both bikes and wearing apparel. Some older riders have become fans of the three-wheeled motorcycles, or “trikes,” which are larger, look cool and offer more stability.
In an accident situation, the motorcyclist is obviously much more vulnerable to injury than the motorist. Many times, a driver will say that he or she simply did not see the motorcycle, but this is no excuse for causing the crash. Motorcycle riders should explore their legal options—older riders, especially, who may have suffered devastating injuries. Expertise in dealing with big insurance companies is critical when the rider is eligible to receive full and fair compensation for medical expenses and more.