Spring is motorcycle riding season. This is the time when thousands of Virginia motorcyclists get on their bikes to enjoy the fresh air, wide open spaces, in the sense of freedom and adventure only a motorcycle ride can give you.
Riding is a very enjoyable activity, but it is not without its downsides. Motorcyclists have less protection than occupants of automobiles, and riders are at greater risk for serious injury. The vast majority of motorcycle fatalities happen between the months of May and September, and this is why May has been designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
Riders in every age group run a greater risk of injury than those who drive and ride in other motor vehicles, but one group that is particularly susceptible to severe injuries during a motorcycle accident are seniors. Individuals over the age of 60 make up a greater percentage of the riding population than ever before. And since 2001, the number of motorcyclists in the United States who are over the age of 60 has more than doubled.
This trend has been driven largely by aging demographics and the Baby Boomer generation entering retirement. Boomers have always embraced the motorcyclist lifestyle, and as they enter their golden years, they have a lot more time available to get out on the open roads and pursue their passion.
Why Senior Motorcycle Riders are at Greater Risk for Injury
In 2013, Consumer Reports published a study that showed some of the effects aging has on those who get into motorcycle accidents. While younger riders (those between the ages of 20 and 39) get into far more accidents than those in other age groups, riders over the age of 60 were shown to suffer far more serious injuries.
Riders in the 60+ age group who are involved in motorcycle accidents are 2.5 times more likely to require treatment in the emergency room, and three times more likely to require hospitalization than younger riders. Riders who are considered middle aged (between the ages of 40 and 60) fare better than senior riders in this regard, but they are still 66% more likely to require medical attention than riders in the youngest age group.
One of the most common types of motorcycle injuries for riders in all age groups is broken bones/fractures. But the key distinction is the type of fracture motorcyclists are likely to experience. For younger riders, broken arms are the most common. But for riders over the age of 60, more serious injuries are commonplace; such as fractures in the upper torso (e.g., chest). As we age, our bone strength decreases, and areas like the chest become more vulnerable to injury.
Safety Tips for Senior Motorcyclists
The authors of the study had several recommendations for older riders:
- Stay Educated: Some seniors are new to motorcycling, others are returning to it after taking a few decades off to start careers and raise families. In either case, riders should take a motorcycle safety course, so they are up to speed on all of the rules and best safety practices on the road.
- Wear DOT-approved Helmets: All Virginia motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets that meet or exceed Federal Department of Transportation standards or the specifications laid out by the Snell Memorial Foundation or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Be sure to follow the helmet laws of Virginia or whatever state you are riding in.
- Wear Chest Protection: Riders in the middle-aged and senior age groups will benefit greatly by wearing extra protection around vulnerable areas such as the chest.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Virginia? Call Schilling & Esposito for Skilled Legal Guidance
Even if you follow all the best safety practices, it is still possible to end up in a motorcycle crash. And as we have seen, senior motorcycle riders are at greater risk for injury when they are involved in an accident. If the accident was the fault of another party, you deserve to be fully compensated. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not usually treat injury victims fairly, and to help ensure that you receive justice, you need strong legal counsel by your side advocating forcefully for your rights and interests.
At Schilling & Esposito, we have several decades of experience representing clients who have been injured in motorcycle accidents and suffered all other types of time personal injuries in Virginia. We routinely go up against well-funded adversaries such as large insurance companies and their high-priced lawyers, and we fight hard to ensure that our clients are fully and fairly compensated for their injuries. Call our office today at 804-261-1001 for a free consultation. You may also message us through our web contact form or stop by our office in person at your convenience.