Aging Bikers Risk Injury, Death

May 4th, 2010 | Sources: MSNBC

Aging motorcyclists are nearly twice as likely as their younger counterparts to die in a motorcycle accident, say researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

To reach this conclusion, Mark Gestring, who directs the Center’s trauma program and his colleagues studied nearly 62,000 motorcycle crashes in the US between 1996 and 2005. The ages of involved riders ranged from 17-89 years old.

chopper motorcycleThe scientists found that during that 10 year period, the mean age of bikers who were involved in crashes rose from 34 to 39, and the proportion of injured riders who were at least 40 years old increased from 28% to 50%.

Motorcyclists in the 50-59 year age range experienced the most rapid rise in injuries, while those in the 20-29 year-old age range had fewer accidents in 2005 than in 1996.

“We made the clinical observation that older patients — people in their 50s, 60s and even 70s — were being injured on motorcycles with increasing frequency,” Gestring told MSNBC. “We wanted to see if this observation was true on a national level and we found that it was.”

The scientists also noted that riders who were at least 40 years of age had more severe injuries and longer lengths of ICU stay than younger bikers. 

“Treating a 60-year-old who has been in a motorcycle accident is very different from treating a 21-year-old who has been in a similar accident — 60-year-olds bring a lot more medical baggage with them, and this can adversely impact outcomes following injury,” Gestring said.

The write-up appears in American Surgeon.


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