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Accidents can be more serious for older motorcyclists

On a warm, sunny weekend afternoon in Southern California, it is not unusual to see a group of senior motorcyclists out for a ride on the open road. These folks have had a love affair with Harleys, Triumphs, Indians and the like since they were in their teens.

Unfortunately, the physiological issues of age carry some extra risks on a bike. When older riders are involved in motorcycle accidents, their injuries can be much more serious than when they were younger.

Results of a clinical study

Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that riders in their 50s, 60s and 70s sustained injuries in motorcycle crashes “with increasing frequency.” That seems reasonable, however, when you consider that age makes inevitable changes to our bodies and the way they work. The URMC study found, not surprisingly, that bikers over the age of 40 had injuries that were more severe than younger riders', and consequently spent more time in the hospital. Older patients also have medical histories more complex than their younger counterparts, which can adversely affect outcomes.

Types of age-related problems

The aging process affects bone strength, meaning that in older people, the bones are simply more brittle. Impaired vision is another problem that can affect senior motorcyclists, plus altered balance and delayed reaction times. The URMC researchers found that older bikers lost control of their motorcycles more frequently than younger riders, and this contributed to crashes.

Older does not mean at fault

Keep in mind that motorcycle riders, no matter their age, are not always at fault for accidents. Older riders involved in a crash may think it is a waste of time to seek legal assistance, because people will assume that they caused the accident. However, the rights of a motorcyclist of any age must be protected, and an experienced attorney will do everything possible to hold the party responsible for the accident accountable.

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