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Statistics don't favor older motorcyclists in wrecks

There is no question that motorcyclists are at greater danger of suffering fatal injuries than those who ride in passenger vehicles. Yet statistics from 2013 indicate that motorcycle deaths dropped 6.4 percent from 4,986 the year before to 4,668.

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration during the same year showed that out of each 100,000 registered motorcycles, 56 had involvement in a fatal accident. This compares with the nine out of each 100,000 cars involved in fatal wrecks, meaning that in 2013 alone, motorcycle riders were nearly 26 times likelier to be killed in a wreck for each mile driven than their counterparts in four-wheeled vehicles.

Age appears to be a factor in motorcycle deaths, as NHTSA data showed that 55 percent of motorcycle riders who were killed in 2013 crashes were over 39. Agency statistics put the average age for motorcyclists killed in wrecks at 42 in that year. That's an increase from 2004, when the age was only 38.

There are common reasons why older riders not only die more frequently after a collision, but also suffer more serious injuries. Brown University researchers found that age-related decreases in reaction time and vision, together with the bigger bikes ridden by older riders, were factors. Larger, heavier motorcycles have a tendency to roll over more than lighter bikes, and older bones are less forgiving of injuries than younger ones.

Riders 60 and older were found to be 2.5 times more prone to being seriously injured than younger riders, and were admitted to hospitals after accidents at three times the rate.

None of these statistics are likely to deter die-hard two-wheeler aficionados, however. Those who have already suffered injuries may wish to pursue legal action in the California courts against any at-fault drivers involved in their accident.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, "Motorcycle Crashes," accessed Oct. 08, 201

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