Bikers Over 40 Two Times More Likely To Die In An Accident. Bad Reflexes Or Bad Bones?

Between 1996 and 2005 the National Trauma Databank reviewed the records of 61,689 motorcyclists aged 17 to 89 years who had been involved in a motorcycle crash. Their findings reveal the average age of motorcyclists involved in crashes increased by approximately 5 years, from 34 to 39, between 1996 and 2005. (It’s consistent with the statistics of the Motorcycle Industry Council showing that the average age of motorcycle ownership rose from 33 to 40 between 1998 and 2003.)

The National Trauma Data Bank results show that the proportion of injured riders above the age of 40 jumped from about 28 percent to close to 50 percent in that same time period. The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) found that for riders over 40, injury severity, length of stay in the hospital or intensive care unit, and mortality were all higher compared with younger riders.

The older motorcyclists are more likely to die from less severe injuries than younger riders, to spend at least 24 hours in the intensive care unit, and to have more pre-existing conditions and complications, such as heart attack or infection, that contribute to extended hospital stays. Depending on the severity of the original injury, the risk of dying was also 1 1/2 to 2 times more likely in those over 40. The reason: 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. Age-related changes, such as decreases in bone strength and brain size, could make older riders more susceptible to injury, the researchers say.

19 Responses to “Bikers Over 40 Two Times More Likely To Die In An Accident. Bad Reflexes Or Bad Bones?”

  1. 1 Kirk Perry May 7th, 2010 at 8:19 am

    What a way to go though. Full throttle. 🙂

  2. 2 Knucklehead May 7th, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Old bones yep! Medical baggage that too. I’m pushing 60 and my reflexes are not what they were when I was 20 or even 30 doing this. Don’t like to ride hard in a group anymore. Just don’t feel as safe as when I was younger. Always been quick and still am but not like back in the day.

  3. 3 grayhawk May 7th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Most know I am not much for entitlements but this brings up a possibly needed lane and rightaway, kinda like a bicycle lane but for mature bikers especially at rallys when backed up in traffic, a geezer lane if you will, ha. For your and our, geezers, safety of course; ha.

    Seriously those amongst us of age need to be cognizant of our deminishing reactions and strength and know our limits. But there is another statistic that is compised in that statistic above and that is the number of those that are newbees and/or have not ridden in decades so to speak and in their minds are Johnny rider/racer or are flatlanders like me and think you do not have to get acclimated each year you head back to the mountains.

  4. 4 Watcher May 7th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    My neighbor is in his early 60’s and has a newer Harley Ultra. He is always dumping over trying to move it around in his drive way. He has tipped it over many times going in and out of gas stations. I think he should get rid of the over weight Harley and get a lighter bike. Maybe a BMW R1200RT which I think is in the 600lbs range.

  5. 5 Flynch May 7th, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Here is the question that has to be asked.

    How many men over 40 exercise and eat healthy?

    Men over 40 are more subceptable to hearth disease than younger men, but the National Trauma Databank is not reviewing the age of the men who order Big Macs at McDonalds.

    This is self-evident reporting. There is more to this story than a simple statitic. (Sounds like insurance lobby crapola to me.)

  6. 6 Chris Z. May 7th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Flynch. ” but the National Trauma Databank is not reviewing the age of the men who order Big Macs at McDonalds”. LOL. You think that people start to go to McDonald’s after they are 40? That they fall because of Ronald’s?

  7. 7 Stephen Kerner May 7th, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    It’s a no brainer that a 20 year old body is more likely to survive an identical injury than a 50 year old body. So why are more of us dying? Well, I’ve noticed a large increase in the number of boomers returning to riding or just starting to ride over that last few years. Like any newbie, they crash more often and they can afford large powerful bikes that are less forgiving. This whole study is one big Duh!

    Let’s compare age and experience and do not count the twenty or thirty years since the last time someone rode and now as twenty or thirty years of experience.

    As the number of riders goes up, the number of crashes go up. As one ages, the severity of injuries goes up. So what good does this study do?

  8. 8 Joseph May 7th, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Stephen kerner. The study shows that contrary to a major belief it’s not necessarily (or only) the lack of experience or bad reflexes causing the highest percentage of deaths for the other 40 yo. But the difficulty of recovering after an accident comparing the same trauma for the same number of injured bikers below and over 40. Your comment is dumb.

  9. 9 max May 7th, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Motor Cops have found- rule of thumb- those that exercise regularly and stay fit spend 1/2 the time in recovery after an accident. They also know there are only two kinds of riders, those that have been down and those that haven’t yet. .

  10. 10 Smiley May 7th, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    What a crock of shit . Im 54 and still pound the streets hard on my Roadking Classic and any selected Chopper or Bobber I build here in my shop . Seems to me that getting older should mean getting smarter ? Who are these guys that are tipping over and getting into accidents ? Just what we need ..more idiots makeing comparisons and tallying useless stats ….What next ….premiums on already rediculously high insurance rates just because a guys hits the 40 year mark ? Leave me alone and let me enjoy the lifestyle that I’ve been living and supporting since I was 15. If it takes me a week or two longer to recover from an accident should I ever be involved in one who gives a shit .

  11. 11 ROCKSTAR May 7th, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    geezer in the picture is def the HD demographic

  12. 12 raycwheeler May 8th, 2010 at 12:12 am

    happy to report that my 66th is coming the end of the month, still exercise most everyday and ride nearly everyday and have since the 60’s.
    just a thought, if you slow down you might stop, so full speed ahead and live life while your alive.
    see you at Bonneville this summer.

    raycwheeler usa

  13. 13 A 1 cycles inc. May 8th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    im 42 and have been riding the street since 16 and dirt since 4….i have held professional racing licenses inmany diciplines but nothing has made me a better rider in my entire life than south florida for 5 years..everyday is a new adventure and you become aware of your surroundings and riding becomes like a sixth sense when people are going to do stupid things…just knowing that people in the right lane on a three lane surface street when you are travelling in the middle lane somebody turns right and the line gets a little backed up someone WILL pull into your middle lane without a blinker or warning…when i see certain things happen and i put myself in a good posistion to miss make ,me realize how good i have become..thank you florida drivers!

  14. 14 nicker May 9th, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    A1 has it spot-on.

    “…you become aware of your surroundings and riding becomes like a sixth sense when people are going to do stupid things…”

    It’s called experience. All full time riders (who aren’t total morons) develop it.
    But “development path” has it’s challenges.
    Youngsters get over road rash and injuries more quickly and learn from the “experience.”

    Problem is oldsters who are just starting don’t go through that learning curve very gracefully.
    (“old dogs, new tricks” etc, etc.)

    If you got good statistics, it’s a good bet these “old-injured” are mostly new riders.
    If every one who said “i used to ride when i was young” actually did ride then:

    -1- There would have been a hell of a lot more bikes in the HS parking lot, back then.
    -2- There would be a lot more smart, old, experienced riders…. who wouldn’t be crashing.
    -3- and i forgot #3 because i’m well over 60.

    Oh ya, experience teaches us our limitations.
    (no-experience, no-limitations…… then “tilt”)…………. 🙂


  15. 15 THUG CUSTOM CYCLES May 10th, 2010 at 8:05 am

    you mean bikers over 70!!!!! 40 is the new 30!! =)

  16. 16 A.Hellrider May 10th, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Insurance company propaganda, complete f**n crap. All of the over forty crowd that bought their first motorcycle yesterday have made the numbers for this “statistic”. EVERYTHING “THEY” tell you is crap!

  17. 17 cwglide May 10th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Part of what makes riding fun and thrilling is the adventure of anything can happen at any givin time at any age. I’m in my mid 50’s and I dont ride as hard as I use to. Yes i can still to 500 mile days, but not as hard on the throttle as much. I find myself being more caucious. I guess the “No Fear” factor lost its way after 40. I managed to stay alive and mostly due to conditioning of being aware of your surrounding and always have a way out. Your absolutely right A1 expect the unexpected. It what keeps us alive aside from an act of god.

  18. 18 jsdiamond May 10th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Another so-called study with minimal statistics and second grade math. Looks like the robber barons in the insurance agencies are trying find a way to make us pay more. Gee… I wonder why cough -healthcarereformscam- cough they would do that?

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