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Motorcycle Accident Injuries: Younger vs. Older Riders

Biker couple riding down the road in the sunset

In recent years there has been a significant increase in motorcycle accident fatalities and injuries among riders, particularly those 40 years and older.

Older motorcyclists are more likely to sustain higher rates of chest injuries and multiple rib fractures. They are also more likely to ride motorcycles with larger engines (which may increase the risk of head and chest injuries) and are more involved in overturning crashes or striking highway structures.

Causes of Collision

For both younger and older motorcyclists, injuries and deaths from motorcycle collisions primarily involve another vehicle. However, older riders were more than twice as likely to overturn and crash. They also were more likely to strike an embankment, fence, bridge overpass, or other fixed structure.

The events or actions most likely to trigger a motorcycle accident are being run off the road, overturning/rollover, and rear-ending another vehicle while slowing, stopping, or turning. Other crash factors may involve left turns, angle collisions, and sideswipes.

Younger motorcyclists found at fault were more likely to be cited for speeding and reckless or aggressive driving. At-fault older riders tended to be cited for speeding, inattention, and intoxication.

Location of Crashes

One potential reason why older motorcyclists tend to suffer more severe injuries in a motorcycle crash is where the wreck happens. Motorcycle accidents for older riders are more likely to occur on high-speed state routes and interstate highways in more rural areas. Motorcycle accidents involving younger riders tend to occur on secondary roadways and local streets.

Motorcycle Helmets

Among younger riders, wearing helmets was associated with less severe injuries than those who were without a helmet during a crash. On the other hand, helmet use had little effect on older rider injury rate and severity.

Large Engines

Engines rated 1,000 cc or higher were associated with an increased risk of head injury for all motorcyclists. Older riders who operated a motorcycle with a large engine at the time of the crash were more likely to suffer thoracic injuries.

Injury Distribution

For both older and younger motorcycle riders, the lower extremities (feet and legs) followed by the upper extremities (hands and arms) were the most common injuries suffered in a crash. Older riders injured in a crash were more likely to suffer head, neck, and chest injuries. Younger motorcyclists were more likely to suffer spinal injuries.

Younger riders who don’t wear helmets are more likely to sustain serious head injuries, while those who do wear helmets are more likely to suffer leg injuries. Among older riders, both helmeted and unhelmeted, leg injuries remained the most serious injury.

Fatal Motorcycle Injuries

Injured riders hospitalized with internal injuries to the head, chest, and abdomen from a motorcycle accident suffered high mortality rates. Older motorcyclists had nearly twice the risk of dying from head and abdominal injuries compared to younger riders. Chest injuries were equally lethal for both groups.

Motorcyclists overall have a high risk of suffering severe wounds in a crash. One in five motorcycle accidents results in debilitating or fatal injuries.

Older Riders Are Vulnerable

Most motorcyclists don’t want to think about the day they stop riding. It’s a highly personal decision. A rider has to take into account their physical and mental health, how confident they feel on the road, their capability to react to situations, and local laws. And these considerations don’t just apply to riders 60 and older.

Middle-aged riders between 40 and 59 are twice as likely to suffer a serious injury compared to younger riders. Motorcyclists above 60 were three times more likely to suffer a serious injury.

With age comes frailer bones, health problems, slower reflexes, pain, and lengthier recovery times. A motorcycle accident injury that hospitalizes a younger rider may kill an older, more seasoned rider.

Riding a motorcycle doesn’t guarantee a crash. But it does come with serious risks that all riders, young or old, should take into account before getting on their bike.

Motorcycle Injury Attorney

Motorcycles are larger and faster compared to the prior century, and there are more drivers and riders on the road than ever before. Whether you’re young or old, you deserve help for your motorcycle accident injuries.

Our motorcycle accident injury lawyers successfully defend injured riders from the insurance companies and negotiate for the maximum compensation possible that they need to cover their expensive medical and physical therapy costs.

Motorcycle accident and injury claims can be difficult to negotiate on your own. The insurance company will try to find ways to blame you rather than their insured. Talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer first.

For a free consultation about your motorcycle crash injuries, contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates today.

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