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Why older motorcyclists are at higher risk of fatal crashes

Many people dream of purchasing a motorcycle to take on joy rides once they retire. Those who long to do this, though, often haven't ridden a motorbike since they were in their 20s or 30s.

During that 40- to 50-year gap since they've mounted their bike, they don't realize that many things have changed, both in terms of how bikes are made and the rules of the road. They're reflexes aren't as keen as they used to be so many years ago either.

Recently statistics released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggest that motorcycle accidents are on the rise among the 50 and older crowd. In fact, it's this population that's involved in 35 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents. This number stands in contrast to a statistic released in 1975. Back then, motorcyclists age 29 or younger comprised 80 percent of all motorcycle crash victims.

When asked why it's believed crash fatality rates are increasing among older Americans, IIHS suggests that it has to do with the fact that so many of people from this age bracket are still alive. Currently, there are an estimated 76 million individuals residing in the U.S. that are 50 or older, nearly one third of the country's entire population.

As these individuals are retiring, many are looking to recapture some of their lost years spent in the workforce. IIHS notes that these individuals are heading back to the roadways on their bikes after an extended absence with little to no safety training. As one motorcycle school director put it, many of these older motorcyclists feel like they are wise and invincible. They're unwilling to accept that their skills may have eroded.

Older motorcyclists also don't seem to realize how much their body has changed since they first rode motorcycles. Many can't consume as much alcohol during pit stops as they once did. They also can get dehydrated or overheated more easily and experience impaired judgment because of drops in blood sugar as well.

If your loved one died in a motorcycle crash because of someone else's negligence, then a San Bernardino motorcycle accident attorney may advise you of your right to file a wrongful death claim.

Source: MedXpress, "The perils of nostalgia: Older motorcyclists most likely to die in crashes," Mary Wisniewski, Oct. 26, 2017

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