If you used to ride a motorcycle "back in the day," but traded it for a family life and steady job, you aren't alone. Nobody disputes that motorcycling can be a dangerous hobby -- and a lot of people don't want to take the risk that they'll get killed in an accident and leave behind young children or a spouse. Plus, it's hard to hit the road a lot when you're working all the time.
However, picking that bike back up again once the kids are grown and you've either accumulated a lot of annual vacation time or have already retired isn't as easy as it might seem -- and the accident statistics prove it. Here is what you should know.
Older male riders are on the rise -- and so are accidents.
There's a rapidly rising count of older, male motorcyclists out there. Ranging in age from 45-74, men are picking back up the hobby that many of them let go of in their youth -- or even exploring it for the first time now that they have the money and leisure time to do it.
Unfortunately, the accident rate for this group of riders has almost doubled in the last decade, and the accidents are more serious than they are for younger riders. Researchers theorize that there are several reasons behind the problem:
- Older drivers overestimate their skill to get back in the seat and drive they way they once did when they were well-practiced.
- Older drivers have slower reflexes and poorer balance than younger motorcyclists.
- The older the biker, the less bone flexibility he has -- especially in the spine and ribs.
- Motorcyclists from middle age onward have more underlying health problems -- which makes them have a harder time healing than younger riders.
On the bright side, researchers also say that the risks don't have to stop older riders from returning to a hobby that is keeping them fit, active, and happy if they're cautious.
Take the right precautions to stay safe -- and learn what's changed over the decades.
There's a lot that's changed about motorcycling over the last few decades, and safety is all about learning the right things to do and then doing them. There are certain things that any rider -- especially one returning to the hobby after a few decades of absence -- should do:
- Realize that the bike you have now is probably bigger and more powerful than the one you had years ago.
- Studies indicate that older riders tend to have the largest share of augmented bikes, like Sport or Touring models, on the road -- which handle differently than their smaller cousins.
- Recognize that your skills may have gotten rusty over time and take a new training course to get a little practice before you get back on the open road.
- Wear a helmet even if your state doesn't have a helmet law.
- Today's helmets aren't like the "brain buckets" of the past; they're specially designed, carefully fitted, now help protect the neck from spinal injuries and can absolutely save your life.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is practice defensive driving. Science has now proven that the drivers of cars and trucks actually have a hard time seeing motorcyclists. The interaction between the human eye and the human brain and the relatively small size and quick speed of the motorcyclist on the road compared to other vehicles make it harder for auto and truck drivers to register where a biker is at.
If you are injured in an accident with another driver and you feel like it wasn't your fault, consider talking to an motorcycle accident injury attorney about your right to compensation. Your age may leave you with worse injuries and a longer healing time -- so it's important to get the compensation you deserve to secure your financial stability and future.