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The good news and bad news for older motorcyclists

If you have reached the time in your life when you can finally afford to own the motorcycle of your dreams, you probably want to spend as much time as possible on the open road -- but there is always the possibility of an accident, which might require hospitalization and the need for legal assistance.

The good news is that in 2015, injuries from motorcycle crashes were down from the year before. The not-so-good news is that when accidents happen, older riders sustain more serious injuries than their younger counterparts.

The latest NTSA figures

In 2015, 8.6 million motorcycles were on the country’s roads, and motorcycle crashes accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 88,000 motorcycle riders suffered injuries, a figure that was down 4.3 percent from 2014. However, there were also 4,976 fatalities, which was up 8.3 percent from the year before.

Common injuries for seniors

A study published in the medical journal Injury Prevention shows that motorcyclists who are 60 and older are three times more likely to sustain serious injuries requiring hospital care than bikers 20 to 39 years of age. The difference is connected to physiological issues, such as a decrease in bone strength and the elasticity of the chest wall, which explains why there are more head and chest injuries among senior riders. Age also brings risk factors, such as vision issues, delayed reaction time and altered balance, and seniors are prone to broken bones and dislocations as motorcycle crash victims.

Accident prevention

In Colorado, helmets are not required except for motorcycle riders 17 and younger, but you should resolve to wear one, preferably a DOT-approved helmet. In addition, wear a vest or jacket in high-visibility yellow or orange, and apply reflective tape to your bike if you ride after dark. The point is to see and be seen. The last thing you want to deal with when you are out on your bike is a severe injury. After all, this is a special time in your life and you want to enjoy every moment you can on the open road.

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