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Motorcyclists Over the Age of 50 Face More Serious Injuries

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As someone who wants to practice safe driving and respect all motorists on the road, I pay special attention when I see motorcyclists. Motorcycling can be extremely dangerous, especially when you're going head-to-head with drivers in cars whose vehicles are about triple the weight and size of your vehicle. Some experts have suggested that you have about a 37 times greater chance of dying on a motorcycle compared to a car, and more recent research suggests that older riders are at even greater risk of suffering severe injuries in a crash.

It isn't abnormal for bikers over the age of 60 to want to put some rev back in their aging engine by hopping by on their motorcycle. But a Brown University study found that when graying riders go down, they go down hard–bikers age 60 and over are 2.5 times more likely to wind up in the ER with severe injuries compared to riders in their 20s and 30s. The most common types of injuries for older riders include internal organ injuries, especially brain injuries. Younger riders are more likely to suffer non-serious injuries like bruises, scrapes, strains, and sprains.

More and more aging riders are taking to the roads; in fact, so many that researchers have taken a special interest in this group. About a quarter of all motorcyclists in the U.S. are over the age of 50, which is double the number in 1990. Researchers note that the more severe injuries that older riders are prone to suffer aren't because of their older bodies. Instead, older riders are more likely to ride bigger, faster bikes. In addition, older riders may be less likely to use protective gear compared to younger riders. The researchers top suggestions to stop injuries among older riders? Courses to train aging riders and better protective gear for the chest area.