The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a nonprofit group that gathers statistics about injuries and fatalities among motorcycle riders.
The IIHS found that in 1975, riders aged 29 and younger represented 80 % of all motorcycle fatalities. Is this still the case?
A little background
Several groups compile national statistics about motorcycle crashes, especially those that result in fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of motorcycle fatalities is rising. In 2016, there were 5,286 such deaths, which represented 14% of all highway fatalities, an increase of 5% over 2015, and more than double the number of motorcycle-related deaths from 1995.
A different day
Although younger riders represented the group with the highest number of motorcycle-related fatalities in 1975, motorcyclists aged 50 and older suffer the most fatalities today. This group is a large part of the population; 76 million people were born between 1946 and 1964 in the United States. Older riders loved motorcycles when they were young. Then they married, raised families and focused on their careers. Now many are in retirement. Many have disposable income, and at this point in their lives are able to renew their love affair with motorcycles.
A more vulnerable age
All motorcycle riders are prone to becoming dehydrated and overheated, but older riders are more vulnerable to such issues. Their balance has changed over the years and their grip strength is less than it once was. Other physiological changes include worsening vision and slower reflexes. Motorcycle crashes can result in catastrophic injuries. However, along with a good helmet and other protective gear, taking classes to brush up on their skills helps to keep older riders from becoming a statistic.