Boomers have some extra time on their hands once they “retire” and many of them are avid bike riders. I enjoy talking with these folks who have loved biking for years or have started later in life and find great enjoyment in the open road — especially our wonderful Georgia backroads.
But a recently published study has some cautionary statistics for boomer riders. In their study Tracy L. Jackson and Michael J. Mello examined injury patterns in motorcycle accidents and looked at age group differences for those patterns. They took data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program to evaluate those treated in emergency departments for bike crashes from 2001 to 2008. What they found is particularly interesting to me as an Atlanta motorcycle crash lawyer, since I work hard to get the medical and legal rights that bike accident victims deserve.
Essentially, the numbers made it clear to the researchers that injuries increased in all age groups for the period 2001 to 2008 — but the rate of increase was largest among those 60 and over. in fact, that age group was more likely to be hospitalized. In addition, the injuries were more severe within the older age group which led the researchers to conclude that “[o]lder adults involved in motorcycle crashes are prone to more severe injuries than younger adults.” The risk for this group is higher than younger riders who might recover more quickly or more fully than older riders.
In the time frame studied there were 1.5 million motorcycle crash injuries in those age 20 or older, those in the older group had a very high rate of increase. There were about 4,300 injuries in 2001 and about 15,100 injuries in 2008 which represented a nearly 250% increase. Other age groups’ injuries increased about 60 percent.
Boomer bike riders are more likely to be hospitalized for their injuries as well, by about three times. Perhaps due to bone changes as we age, fractures and dislocations which are common for all injured bikers in accidents, were seen by the researchers to be in greater numbers for the older group. Other injuries were more likely in the older group as well — such as brain and organ injuries.