Older bikers are three times as likely to be seriously injured in a crash as their younger counterparts, in part because their bodies are more vulnerable to trauma, according to a new study published online in the journal Injury Prevention.
Researchers said the findings raise new concerns about the increasing popularity of motor bikes among older adults, who are more likely to be involved in a crash.
The percentage of American bikers over the age of 50 has more than doubled from just over 1 in 10 in 1990 to 1 in 4 in 2003, federal statistics show. At the same time, the average age of those involved in a motorcycle crash has been rising, with injuries among those over 65 skyrocketing 145 percent between 2000 and 2006.
"The greater severity of injuries among older adults may be due to the physiological changes that occur as the body ages," the researchers said, citing dwindling bone strength, changes in body fat distribution, and decreasing elasticity in the chest wall.
Underlying illnesses may also increase the risk of complications, they suggested.
For the study, the researchers tracked reports of serious motorcycle collisions in the U.S. between 2001 and 2008. Over that time, 1.5 million motor bike crashes occurred involving adults aged 20 and above who required hospital treatment. Men made up 85 percent of the cases.
The figures showed injury rates for all three age groups increased during the study period, but the greatest rate of increase was among those aged 60 years and older, among whom biking injuries rose 247 percent. Older bikers were also three times as likely to be admitted to a hospital after a crash as were those in their 20s and 30s. Middle-aged bikers were twice as likely as younger riders to require hospital admission.
In addition, the researchers reported older and middle-aged bikers were more likely to be seriously injured than younger ones, with older bikers 2.5 times as likely to suffer serious injuries and middle aged bikers 66 percent more likely to do so.
Fractures and dislocations were the most common types of injury for all age groups, with older and middle-aged bikers most likely to suffer such injuries.
© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.