While motorcyclists, in general, are at higher risk of injury in an accident due to the fact that they have less protection during a crash, there are some other factors to consider as well. According to several recent studies, age also plays a role in a motorcyclist’s risk of being seriously injured in an accident.
Background on Motorcycle Crashes
According to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcyclists are much more likely to be involved in injury and fatal crashes than other vehicle operators. In 2016, the fatality rate per 100,000 registered motorcycles was 60.9, which was the highest rate in eight years.
Some of the major factors in motorcycle crashes are alcohol, distracted driving, and reckless driving. While injuries from these crashes can be incredibly severe, older riders appear to sustain more serious injuries than their younger counterparts.
Senior Riders Are at Greater Risk of Injury
Older motorcycle riders are more experienced and cautious than younger riders, but studies show that this group has a much higher risk of injury in an accident.
A study published in Injury Prevention reveals that older riders (those over the age of 60) are three times more likely to be hospitalized after a motorcycle accident. This group is at greater risk for several reasons:
- Decreased bone strength leads to more fractures and breaks
- Changes in weight can reduce body fat, providing less cushioning during a crash
- General decline in physical fitness leads to reduced muscle strength, balance issues, and reduced alertness while riding
- Pre-existing medical conditions can create the potential for more serious injuries if an accident occurs
The BBC News has also recently reported that the number of injured senior motorcyclists has risen over the past decade throughout the UK.
Older Bikers Can Have More to Lose
While this isn’t always the case, senior motorcycle riders might have more to lose than their younger counterparts. The death of anyone at any age is a tragedy, but the death of a rider over the age of 50 is significant in several ways. For example, these riders might have:
- Significant assets such as retirement accounts, real estate holdings, and saving accounts
- Dependents such as a spouse, children, and grandchildren relying on ongoing support
- High average income that would be difficult to replace
When an older biker is severely injured or killed by the wrongful or careless acts of another party, their dependents might need a sizeable settlement to cover their losses. In these cases, it’s vital to seek the advice of an experienced accident attorney.
Help for Motorcycle Accident Victims of Any Age
Fortunately, the victims of motorcycle accidents that were hurt due to the negligence of others have the right to recover compensation for their losses. Examples of these damages include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
To establish that negligence exists, you will need to be able to prove that another party was in violation of a safety law that should have protected you from harm or otherwise breached a duty that caused you harm. Some examples of negligence in motorcycle accident cases include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Reckless driving
The best way to find out if you have a valid claim after a motorcycle accident is to have your case reviewed by a qualified accident attorney as soon as possible.
How Older Riders Can Protect Themselves
Whether you are new to the sport or have been riding for decades, experts recommend that you participate in regular training classes to keep your skills sharp as you get older. You’ll have to continually compensate for age-related issues such as loss of strength, weaker vision, hearing impairment, and balance issues.
Another safety reminder for anyone operating a motorcycle, but particularly for those over 50, is to wear protective gear. This starts with always wearing a helmet, which the CDC reports will reduce the chances of head injury in a crash by 69% and drop your risk of death by 37%. Other gear that you should consider wearing includes long pants, a jacket, boots, and gloves. These will all provide greater protection for older riders.
Speak with an Experienced Auburn Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you or someone you care about has been involved in a motorcycle accident in the Auburn area, the personal injury attorneys at Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short, LLP have extensive experience holding negligent motorists and other parties responsible for the harm they cause.
Contact our office today at 334-821-3892 to schedule your free consultation.