Older Motorcyclists More Likely to Be Seriously Hurt in Crashes02/07/13
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Older motorcyclists are up
to three times more likely than younger riders to be seriously
injured in a crash, a new study shows.
The findings are especially important in light of the growing
number of older riders, the researchers added.
They analyzed U.S. government data collected between 2001 and
2008, during which time there were 1.5 million motorcycle crashes
involving adults aged 20 and older who required emergency
department treatment. Men accounted for 85 percent of these
When divided by age groups, more than 921,000 of the incidents
involved riders aged 20 to 39, more than 466,000 involved those
aged 40 to 59 and more than 65,000 involved those 60 and older,
according to the study, which was published online Feb. 6 in the
Injury rates for all three age groups increased during the study
period, but the greatest increase -- nearly 250 percent -- occurred
among riders aged 60 and older. Riders in this age group were
nearly three times as likely to be admitted to the hospital after a
crash than those in their 20s and 30s.
Riders aged 40 to 59 were nearly twice as likely to be admitted
to the hospital after a crash than younger riders, according to
researcher Tracy Jackson and her colleagues in the department of
epidemiology at Brown University, in Providence, R.I.
Compared to younger riders, the risk of serious injury in a
crash was 66 percent higher for middle-aged riders and two and a
half times higher for those aged 60 and older.
Fractures and dislocations were the most common types of
injuries in all age groups, but middle-aged and older riders were
much more likely than younger riders to suffer these types of
injuries, particularly around the chest and rib cage.
Middle-aged and older riders also were much more likely to
suffer internal organ damage, most commonly the brain.
The greater severity of injuries among older riders may be due
to age-related physical changes, such as reduced bone strength,
decreased elasticity in the chest wall and shifts in body-fat
distribution, the researchers said. Underlying illnesses may also
increase the risk.
In the United States, the percentage of motorcyclists over the
age of 50 more than doubled from about 10 percent in 1990 to 25
percent in 2003. The average age of people involved in a motorcycle
crash has steadily increased, with rates of injuries among riders
over 65 increasing by 145 percent between 2000 and 2006, according
to the study.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a
motorcycle safety guide.
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