Most motorcyclists understand that their hobby comes with some inherent risks. After all, motorcycles lack the protective enclosure of a passenger vehicle and are much less visible to other drivers due to their size. In 2017 alone, the number of deaths on motorcycles in the United States was roughly 27 times the number in cars.
While all motorcyclists must take more precautions than the average motorist while riding their bike – like driving defensively and wearing the appropriate protective gear –it’s especially crucial for riders over 50.
In 1975, 80% of motorcycle fatalities were riders aged 29 or younger. Surprisingly, today’s age group with the most motorcycle deaths are riders over the age of 50 – making up 35% of the total deaths. Unfortunately, older riders are now at higher risk of sustaining life-threatening or fatal injuries than younger riders on the road.
Why are baby boomers more likely to get into a motorcycle accident?
While there are many unpredictable reasons people get into accidents while driving, there are a few unique factors that contribute to bikers in their 50s and 60s getting into more fatal accidents. According to the Chicago Tribune, baby boomers are more prone to motorcycle accidents because:
- They’re a big part of the population: In the U.S., 76 million people were born between 1946 and 1964. Because they make up such a large portion of the population, they’re also going to make up many deaths. There are also more motorcyclists on the road today than in previous decades.
- They lost their skills over time: Many older riders were once young riders, but put their bikes aside as they built their careers and had families. However, now that most of their children are adults, baby boomers are returning to their bikes, thinking they can just pick it up again. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Your riding skills can atrophy even if you put your bike away for a season.
- They’re less resilient to injuries: Due to their increased fragility, older riders sustain more severe injuries than younger riders and may be less likely to bounce back. Riding a motorcycle is also a very physically demanding activity. If older riders aren’t in the same shape they used to be, it could increase their risk of injury on the road.
If you’re a motorcycle rider over the age of 50, remember that the odds aren’t in your favor when it comes to fatal accidents. Whether you are revisiting the hobby or just starting in your midlife, remember to take the proper training courses to sharper your skills and always wear a helmet.