Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Help Older Motorcycle Riders Avoid Serious Accidents
There are currently more motorcycles than ever on our nation’s roadways, a number that has dramatically increased over the past fifteen years. Unfortunately, increased motorcycles on the road has resulted in an increase in motorcycle accidents, which poses a real risk to those who ride one of these vehicles. The ever-increasing price of gas has led motorcycle riders of all ages to put on their helmets in search of more economical transportation. Regrettably, motorcycles can be especially deadly for older riders. Both crash statistics and many attorneys who handle motorcycle accidents are in agreement that older riders face even more significant risks when riding a motorcycle.
Greater Numbers of Older Motorcycle Riders
The number of motorcycle riders has increased exponentially in the last decade, as has the number of riders over the age of 50. According to studies in 2000, only ten percent of all riders were 50 or over. A few years later in 2003, that number was up to 25 percent.1 The dedicated lawyers who help clients recover from motorcycle accidents say this is related to two facts: 1) the “baby boomer” generation is aging, and 2) motorcycle riders are continuing to ride their two-wheeled vehicles longer. The overall number of riders has increased, for economic and many other reasons.
It is currently estimated by TxDOT that there were over 400,000 motorcyclists on Texas roads in 2013, with 495 fatalities occurring across all the age groups.2 Of those fatalities, it is noteworthy that 181 of them were individuals aged 50 or over.3
Older Riders Suffer More Significant Injuries
Motorcycle accident attorneys state that it is significant to know that the many older riders on the road today face the greatest risk of severe injury in a motorcycle accident. Riders aged from 40 to 60 may not experience the most overall accidents; however, this group does have 2.5 times more severe injury accidents, require hospitalization 3 times more often, and suffer the highest percentage of internal injuries such as brain trauma, of all age groups.1 Considering there are still fewer older riders than younger ones, these statistics show that older riders are at a much greater risk for serious injury. Lawyers who work extensively in the field of motorcycle accident injury claims point out that these facts support the concept that older motorcycle riders experience serious injury more often and take longer to recuperate from such injuries than younger riders.
Older Riders Must Recognize Inherent Risks
Even motorcycle accident attorneys acknowledge that there are no hard and fast rules to prevent motorcycle riders from enjoying their motorcycles when they reach the age of 50. The need for older riders to understand all of the risks to avoid serious injury is important. It is vital for all motorcycle riders to wear helmets, especially older riders who face a greater risk of brain injury from a motorcycle accident than younger riders. Older riders must accept the fact that aging bodies take longer to heal and recover from any type of traumatic injury.
Attorneys who represent clients injured in a motorcycle accident suggest that awareness while driving and accepting one’s own physical limitations can help prevent motorcycle accidents. When faced with a sudden hazard, it is harder for older riders to act quickly and control a full-sized motorcycle. Age-related vision impairment, the ability to balance, and other health concerns can also affect an older rider’s ability to safely operate a motorcycle.
The advice of motorcycle accident attorneys is that older riders should honestly assess their health and riding ability, and take any steps necessary to safely enjoy their motorcycles. It is essential to use the right protective gear and even consider down-sizing to a smaller, lighter motorcycle. By taking the right precautions, dedicated lawyers who help clients recover from motorcycle accidents believe that riders can avoid injury and enjoy the excitement of motorcycle riding at any age!
3TexasDoT: 2013 Motorcyclist Fatalities and Injuries by Age Group