Motorcycle riders often call up an image of rebellious youth, reminiscent of James Dean, out to find the freedom of the road. However, a fatal motorcycle crash can happen at any moment. The actuality is that many riders are well past their youth, in fact, middle-aged or even older. Whether they are trying to recapture that youthful feeling in some form of a mid-life crisis or are finally at the financial level where they can afford that bike they always wanted, more and more older riders are hitting the roads. However, statistics show that these older riders are also more likely to have a fatal
Highest Fatality Rate Of All Motorcycle Riding Demographics
More than half of the fatalities in 2010 for motorcycle riders were 40-years of age or older. That is up from 25% back in 1995. While it seems odd that older riders would be less cautious than younger riders, there may be other factors that are contributing to these fatalities among older riders.
- Lack of renewed training. Most states do not require updated training or testing for older riders. Some traffic situations may have changes leading to more accidents for riders returning to the roads.
- Helmet usage. Many older riders may not agree with helmet usage and remember a time when it was not as prevalent. If they are not using helmets, they are at a much higher risk of fatality
- Slower reflexes. Getting older can change the way you react.
Their hearing, eyesight and other sensory faculties may be diminished compared to those of their youth.
Add to that the fact that as people get older, recovery from serious injury accidents is more difficult and can take longer. Although in their minds they may still be 20, their bodies have changed whether they like it or not.
Improving the Safety for Older Riders
Taking all this into account, there is no reason that older riders cannot enjoy their latter years on the top of a motorcycle. Swallowing their pride and admitting that maybe they could use a refresher course in riding, is the first step.
There are over 2,000 sites that offer motorcycle rider education and training programs and courses across the U.S. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) offers these courses and has over 9,000 instructors.
Wisconsin implemented a training course for experienced riders and has seen a reduction in fatalities in the last few years since it was introduced.
On top of revitalizing their skills on a bike, older riders need to embrace the use of a helmet. Although many states still do not have mandatory helmet laws, it is a fact that you are more likely to die if you are not wearing one. Most riders will tell you, it is not a matter of “if” you will crash; it is only a matter of “when”. Riders wearing a helmet have a forty times greater chance of surviving a motorcycle crash. It is simple and obvious choice.
Whether a rider is just dusty off his old bike and rejoining the pack or finally getting the bike he always wanted 20 years ago, all older riders need to sharpen their riding skills before hitting the road.
Taking some time to get comfortable again as well as learn what has changed over the years may just save your life.
Thank you to Illinois
motorcycle accident attorneys, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for this post relating to motorcycle safety.