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 Motorcycle Safety
 Aging and Disabilities
 Vulnerability of older riders in motorcycle crashes
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DataDan
Advanced Member
530 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 08/30/2015 :  10:57 AM                       Like
Articles occasionally appear in the general media about the increasing number of deaths among older motorcycle riders. This is usually explained by the inability to handle a big 700-pound cruiser, being overwhelmed with 100+ horsepower, and lack of the stout muscles and bones we once had. I dismiss these stories because they usually omit the fact that motorcycles have become wildly popular among us now-aging Baby Boomers. The increase in average motorcyclist age from 29 to 49 over the past 30 years explains much more of the climbing fatality age than can brittle bones.

In fact, I had a hunch that younger riders were more likely to die if they crashed because they were involved in more violent crashes. My hunch was wrong. Instead, I found that if they crash, riders aged 60+ are 37% more likely to die than average, under-25s are 14% less likely to die, and the 60-and-overs are 60% more likely to die than the under-25s.

This doesn't change the fact that older riders are underrepresented in fatal crashes compared to their presence in the riding population; they are overrepresented only in comparison to other crashers. In 2010, the average motorcyclist age was 49, but the average fatality age was 42. While we are at greater risk in the event of a crash, we do so less often.

This was somewhat of a reality check for me. I hardly feel invincible, but the difference in vulnerability between 60s and 20s is greater than I expected. It strengthens my commitment to crash prevention. We can learn from others' experiences and adopt better practices as discussed so well in this forum. And we can learn from our own experience: A close call is a potential crash with slightly less favorable timing and position. By anticipating the situation and averting the surprise, we may prevent a crash.


My conclusion is based on more than 80,000 motorcycle crashes of all severities reported to police in California 2008-2013, which appear in the SWITRS (Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System) database.

Edited by - DataDan on 08/30/2015 11:05 AM

Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 08/30/2015 :  11:20 AM
There is a proven formula for predicting survival after serious burns:

Age + % of body burned

Over 100, you are unlikely to survive.

I wonder whether there is such a simple formula for major trauma?
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Gryphon Rider
Male Junior Member
45 Posts


Calgary, Alberta
Canada

Honda

Valkyrie Tourer

Posted - 09/02/2015 :  10:19 AM
I wonder if physical fitness skews the fatality rate vs. age numbers. The weight of the rider definitely affects the forces that his body has to absorb. Are 60+ crashers 60% heavier than 25- crashers? I'm under 50 and I'm already 38% heavier than when I was 24.
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 09/02/2015 :  11:50 AM
I think I saw some dietary advice based around people typically gaining one pound each year, with the advice being to eat one mouthful less each and every meal. Over a year, there's the pound still on the plate (IYSWIM).
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 06/23/2016 :  1:35 AM
Just re-reading the OP :(

I've just turned 58, so soon to be in that 60+ bracket.

I've not ridden for almost 3 years, through a combination of circumstances. I'm healthy, but relatively unfit, and it's unlikely I'll be able to justify the cost of uncovering the bike and getting it roadworthy again for some time.

I do wonder about the wisdom of doing so . . .

oh well, that's a cheery start to the day :)
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wmcooper
Male Junior Member
33 Posts


perry, ga
USA

Honda

shadow aero

Posted - 06/23/2016 :  9:40 AM
54 here and just rode a motorcycle for the first time last August so been riding for almost a whole year now. So still very much a newbie. I may be a little out of shape but I always have been so I still feel like 20 and usually act like it too. But that doesn't mean I do stupid stuff. I do PLP and try to improve every time I ride.
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 06/23/2016 :  9:44 AM
I'm so risk-averse I do a mirror check before stepping on the cracks in the pavement ;)
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2260 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 06/24/2016 :  1:48 AM
Good topic.

Soon to be turning 55. Recent discoveries;

1) New to shoulder re-hab as of a few weeks now, suspected culprit is the act of human catapult off mtn bike on a speedy downhill run more than 16 years ago. Separated shoulder needed no surgery but I'm guessing some arthritis is moving in. Strange range of motion pains at times but not debilitating.

2) First ever in my life body massage about 3 weeks ago. I'm a believer and locking this in for approx once a month visit, $30 / one half hour. Feeling more energized, less drowsy, better posture, not as tired or feeling hunched over at the end of the work shift etc.... My wife has been going for over a year now and I was a bit leery because she gets a pretty strong workout from the therapist. I was afraid I was too screwed up and would be terribly sore but it wasn't bad and I asked the therapist to go easy on my first visit. I'd recommend this to anyone from 18 years on up to try it out even if you don't have any pain or discomfort. I immediately realized I'd been putting up with slight pain for a long - long time and just got used to it. This is not necessary !! Invest a half hour sometime and report back.

Still enjoy riding the Honda as much as ever but not sure I'd bite off some of those 150 to 250 mile rides I'd done a few years ago. I have plenty of fun just darting around town or to and from work.

Aged riders not bouncing back as quick or easily from injury or even at more risk of not bouncing back at all seems like a fairly straight forward assumption to me given the same type of crash , speed involved in an apples to apples situation. Even if stats don't show a big sampling or trend defining that very clearly, I think we benefit from the idea that age has some effects and even in some cases, restrictions. With that mindset, I feel driving or riding accordingly should be of benefit.

I'm still working at fitness which is to say I've never been seriously fit but now as I get older, I'm thinking of the dividends per hiking, biking and the idiocy of waiting til I was 53 to start jogging. Never been a runner (and still not) but I did get to and jog the bolderBoulder 10k the past 2 Memorial Days and one colderBoulder 5k last Dec. The idea of running a few times a month or twice a week to stave off the time vampire of those slow as molasses hikes is appealing. I figure a few runs gets the job done in 12 - 15 minutes. Biking in between once or twice a week should be good cross fit and help with balance, fine motor skills and such.
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Tburd
Male Senior Member
476 Posts


Waukesha, WI
USA

Suzuki

Boulevard S50

Peer Review: 1

Posted - 06/24/2016 :  7:57 AM
I returned to motorcycling when I was 60 and just last week turned 69, so riding and age has always been on my mind. So far so good, but I wonder if I'm going to notice the clues that some skills are slipping, or if it will be some unfortunate event to make me stop riding. When I bought the bike my goal was to ride for 10 years, in other words until 70. I'm shocked as heck that it's only another year. Geesh.

I've done something that I believe has been a big help and I'm certain will extend my riding. Five years ago I joined a gym and started working out with a Personal Trainer. I was lucky enough to get placed with a gal who's enthusiasm was contagious. I became motivated and trained twice a week for a few months, then once a week for a few more months totaling about 8 months.

I was concerned at first, this was hard work. With friends getting knee and hip replacements I was thinking some of those darn machines were not a good idea. And I had enough aches and pains to start with including a sore shoulder from previous rotator cuff surgery. Surprisingly, everything got better, and I was getting stronger.

The reason I joined the gym was to lose weight. It took me four years but I finally hit my goal of losing 100 pounds. Not an easy undertaking, but now in many ways I'm better off than when I started motorcycling at the age of 60.

Highly recommended. It's worked for me and I think all seniors should work on strength and functional fitness. I continue going to the gym a few times a week plus I have a range of kettlebells at home for occasional workouts.

People on Medicare should look for a gym in the "Silver Sneakers" program, membership is paid for by Medicare.
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gymnast
Moderator
4260 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 06/24/2016 :  11:38 PM
Good post Tburd, most of the older riders that I see are not physically fit. Generally as one ages, better physical fitness leads to better alertness and ability to react to conditions and traffic demands. If worse comes to worse the better ones fitness the better you bounce.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2260 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 06/25/2016 :  12:27 AM
Great strategy and high value info Tburd .... like that story or yours a lot and congrats on taking your fitness/health to that level and the discipline to Make It Happen.

Really when I think about it, I could say that I'm not sure what's most important.... your health ? fitness ? longevity ? or continuing to ride that cycle well into your years but the cool thing is, they are all tied together.
To me, it seems easier to assign needed willpower when the benefits multiply. It's just a matter of thinking it through.

Edited by - bachman1961 on 06/25/2016 5:39 PM
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Tburd
Male Senior Member
476 Posts


Waukesha, WI
USA

Suzuki

Boulevard S50

Posted - 06/25/2016 :  4:31 PM
Thanks to bachman and gymnast for the comments and also for some additional points.

As for the comment "most of the older riders that I see are not physically fit" I'd say, living in Wisconsin it's more than just the older riders. My point is that it's a widespread problem not only in this country, but around the world in other countries that have adopted our dietary philosophy.

As we get older "better physical fitness leads to better alertness and ability to react" is something I haven't thought about. Makes sense though, thanks for pointing that out. Based on a N=1 (me) I think my experience tends to support that, not that I'm getting more alert, but that I haven't lost any alertness or ability to react that I've noticed in nine years. Admittedly it's hard to be totally unbiased when judging yourself.

I believe completely that health, fitness, and longevity are related and all go up together based on diet and exercise. Benefits are many things such as riding a motorcycle and playing with your grandkids.

I'll link to a few videos that are interesting because of what we are discussing here. The first is a TEDx video by Charles Eugster, an interesting old guy who is 93 years old. The second is Mark Reifkind who gives a talk on "Energy, Mobility and Strength." This is an informative presentation that changed my views an what kind of exercise is important.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGgoCm1hofM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_-FBLMPed4
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commonground
Male Standard Member
155 Posts


Windsor, PA
USA

Yamaha

V Star 1300

Posted - 06/27/2016 :  2:21 PM
I've read all the posts here and can't help but wonder how mental aging factors into this. Obviously our bodies are not as resilient as we age, nor do we have the recovery rate of a young person but, how many of the older folks do things to keep their mental acuity at it's peak?

I think that everyone will agree that avoiding an accident on a motorcycle will yield the best possible outcome no matter what the age. I'm 72 and know that the body will not do well in an accident. It didn't when I was younger either. I believe that the mental part of riding, at any age, plays a big part in how we survive. Exercising the mind is as important as exercising the body. Just a thought.
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