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For seniors, motorcycle rides are still cool, but risky

The 60-plus motorcycle crowd continues to grow as baby boomers have the time and money to take to the open road on the Harleys and Indians they loved in their younger years. The difference is that as people age, so do their bodies. If a senior motorcyclist is in a crash, the resulting injuries will likely be more serious at 65 than they were at 25.

Latest agency data

In October 2017, the American Automobile Association released a report showing that in 2016, fatalities for over-60 motorcycle riders were more than four times higher than other age groups. Furthermore, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is more likely for seniors to suffer life-threatening injuries in a motorcycle crash compared to their younger counterparts.

The increase

Federal Highway Administration data shows the number of motorcycles on the road rose from 8.4 million in 2014 to 8.6 million the following year. It is logical to assume motorcycle accidents are more common as a result. However, riders are not always at fault for a crash. Many times, a negligent motorist will claim he or she simply did not see the motorcycle. While drivers get into the habit of looking for larger vehicles, motorcyclists have the same road rights as cars and trucks. Motorists must be vigilant.

How motorcycle crashes happen

In addition to injuries suffered due to driver inattention, a motorcycle rider can become severely injured when a driver makes a left turn in front of him or sideswipes the motorcycle when changing lanes or merging into traffic. One of the worst crashes is a rear-end collision in which the motorcyclist is the victim.

What to expect

Common motorcycle crash injuries include broken bones, foot and head injuries and, for older riders, chest injuries. When a driver is at fault for the accident, the biker can expect compensation to cover medical bills, loss of wages and more. It will probably take longer for a senior biker to recover from injuries now than it did decades ago, but in time, he or she will probably take to the open road again.

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