As spring comes into full bloom, motorcycle enthusiasts throughout Alabama will be hitting the roadways to enjoy the beautiful weather and take in our state’s scenic natural beauty. There are few activities that are more exhilarating and give you a greater sense of freedom than riding your bike on the open roads. Although motorcycle riding is usually a highly enjoyable activity, it can be dangerous and deadly. This is one of the reasons May has been designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
It stands to reason (and it is true) that motorcyclists are at a higher risk of severe injuries and fatalities when they get into a wreck with another vehicle. Obviously, motorcycle riders have far less protection and fewer barriers to protect them from injury when they get into a collision than motorists in aa car or truck. In fact, motorcyclists are approximately 28 times more likely to be killed in a wreck than the occupants of other vehicles.
Riders of all ages are susceptible to injury when they get into a crash, but research shows that age can be a major factor in determining the severity of the injuries a rider will sustain in a wreck. During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we want to spotlight a group that makes up a growing percentage of motorcycle riders – seniors.
Since 2001, the percentage of motorcycle riders over the age of 60 has more than doubled. This is largely due to aging demographics and the Baby Boomer generation entering their golden years. The generation that embraced the “Easy Rider” counterculture of the 1960s still loves to ride, and now that they are entering full retirement, they have a lot more free time available to indulge their passion.
Injury Risks for Senior Motorcycle Riders
Aging takes a toll on our bodies. As we get older, our vision starts to fade and our reaction times, inevitably, become slower. In fact, in 2013, Consumer Reports published a study showing that older motorcycle riders are at greater risk of serious injury when they are involved in an crash. The study found that riders over the age of 60 (who are involved in a wreck) are 2.5 times more likely to require emergency room treatment and three times more likely to require hospitalization than younger riders (those between the ages of 20 and 39). Middle-aged riders between the ages of 40 and 60 fare some better, but they are still 66% more likely to need medical treatment than their younger counterparts.
Among riders of all ages, fractures are among the most common types of motorcycle injuries. However, the study found that younger riders are more likely to sustain broken arms, while older riders often end up with fractures in their chest, shoulder, and backs. The authors of the study attribute this to the decrease in bone strength as we age. In other words, the older we get, the more brittle our bones become.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Senior Riders
To help prevent serious injuries, it is important for senior motorcyclists to take some extra precautions before they hit the road. Some recommendations from the study include:
- Take a Motorcycle Safety Course: Many seniors are taking up riding for the first time, pursuing a hobby that they did not have time for when they were busy raising a family. Others are returning to riding after a break from it for several years or decades. In either case, it is very helpful to take a motorcycle safety course that will educate you (or refresh your recollection) on the rules and best safety practices of the open road.
- Use DOT-Approved Helmets: Alabama requires riders of all ages to wear a helmet that has a hard exterior shell and is made of non-shattering materials. Be sure to wear a state-approved helmet whenever you are out riding.
- Wear Chest Protection: It is highly recommended that middle-aged and senior motorcycle riders wear extra protection around the chest to help protect vulnerable areas of the body from serious injuries.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Call Our Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or someone close to you has been involved in a motorcycle crash, you may have severe injuries . . . especially if you are a senior rider. If the wreck was someone else’s fault, you have the right to be fully compensated. Insurance companies will do everything they can to diminish the value of your injury claim or even to deny the claim altogether! You need a strong legal advocate in your corner working hard to protect your rights and interests. Someone who is not intimidated by the resources of the insurance company
At The Law Offices of Troy King, we have years of experience successfully representing individuals injured in all kinds of wrecks in Alabama, including motorcyclists. Our lawyers have extensive knowledge of this area of the law, and we fight hard to secure the full and fair compensation you need, deserve, and to which you are entitled.
To schedule your free consultation with our legal team, call our office today us at (334) 215-4440 or message us through our web contact form. You can also visit our Montgomery location to speak to our lawyers, or we will come to you.