Statistics on motorcycle deaths are beginning to show an increase in the number of older riders meeting their deaths while biking. Daily, more than 12 people die in motorcycle accidents. A constantly growing portion of those killed are from the baby boomer generation. It’s not that they don’t have the experience. They do. However, their reflexes are not what they once were – a simple, yet frustrating part of life.
According to the numbers, bikers in the 55 to 64-year-old bracket accounted for 16.3 percent of fatalities in 2013 and 17.2 percent in 2012. Why are the death tolls higher in this age bracket? It’s simple math. Statistically, there are more Americans in that bracket now than in previous years. As the population ages, so grow the demographics they age into.
Consider the case of a 64-year-old biker with over 40 years of motorcycle experience, who met her sudden demise in a lane splitting situation, when a car driving next to her wandered into her lane without looking. She was ejected from her bike and run over.
Or consider the story of a 67-year-old man with a pristine driving record as a biker, who clipped the end of a car that was turning in front of him. Without enough time to take evasive action, he was catapulted over the roof of the car. Luckily, he lived to walk away from the accident. His glasses, which were a mandatory requirement for riding safety, were at home on the table.
Even though more seasoned, older riders are less reckless than they may once have been, the fact is that their aging vision and reflexes are increasingly compromised. Physically speaking, they also do not come back from injuries as fast as a 25-year-old.
There are many courses available to riders of all ages that address motorcycle safety, but none that consider the toll that aging takes on older bikers’ reflexes. Some feel there is no need for a specific course for older riders. However, with every tip directed towards older riders regarding aging and driving could have an exponential impact on the number of lives saved.