More older Americans are beginning to ride motorcycles—or returning to this passion after years of not riding—on Los Angeles area roads and nationwide.  Unfortunately, if they are hit by another vehicle, they are more likely to suffer serious and life-altering injuries than younger motorcyclists.

Motorcycle fatalities are a big concern, because the statistics are getting worse.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,957 motorcyclists died in accidents in 2012, a seven percent increase over 2011. This is the third year that fatalities have increased for motorcycle riders.

Study Finds Older Riders Most Likely to Suffer Serious Injuries

A Brown University study published in 2013 compared the injuries of motorcyclists aged 20-39 years old, 40-59 years old, and 60 years old or older who went to emergency rooms for treatment. While the youngest motorcyclists had significantly more accidents, they suffered less severe injuries:

  • Adults 60 years old or older were three times more likely to be hospitalized than the youngest riders.
  • Adults 40-59 years old were two times more likely to be hospitalized than the youngest riders.

The study found that the youngest riders were more likely to suffer arm fractures, bruises, cuts, scrapes, strains, and sprains. Older riders were much more likely to suffer chest injuries, head injuries, or internal organ damage—often with fatal results.

One reason for the increased risk of serious injuries is that as people age, their bone density and chest wall elasticity decrease. Other factors contributing to more dangerous injuries for older riders are delayed reaction time, balance issues, and worsening vision.  Some of the recommendations for decreasing older rider injuries include:

  • Motorcycle safety courses for both new and rusty riders.
  • Use of a DOT (Department of Transportation)-approved helmets to reduce the risk of head injuries.
  • Use of chest protection to lessen chest injuries and internal organ damage.

Even with these safety measures, motorcyclists will continue to be injured in accidents with other drivers who don’t see them or engage in unsafe driving practices. Riders are at greater risk of very serious injuries and death—no matter what their age. But they may be able to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and more if the other driver was at fault.

Were you injured in an accident where the other driver was at fault? Was a family member killed in an accident? Our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team is experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases. Start an online chat or call us at 800-989-6385 for a free consultation to learn about your legal options.

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982