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Older motorcyclists must take extra precautions


Motorcyclists of all ages should make safety a priority when hitting the road for a journey along California’s roads. But people aged 50 and older, and, especially baby boomers, should take extra precaution because many more of you are dying in crashes involving your bikes.

With more time on their hands due to retirement, more baby boomers have returned to the activity they enjoyed as a young adult. But, now, not only are their bikes rusty, so are their skills. If you have not ridden a motorcycle in a while, your chops just are not there.

Today’s bikes are bigger and faster

Older motorcycle riders must understand that driving defensively is crucial now more than ever. Their reactions are slower, and injuries from an accident likely will affect your body more that that of a younger person.

And before you get back on that bike, it is a good idea to sign up for a safety course. You must refamiliarize yourself with your motorcycle and the newer ones, which are faster and bigger. And because the bikes are bigger and more difficult to handle, consider joining a gym and increase your physical activities.

Here are some startling statistics related to older motorcycle riders:

  • From 2008 to 2017, the number of motorcycle-related fatalities increased by 77 percent among people age 65 or older, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2017, a total of 455 people age 65 or older died in motorcycle crashes, while in 2008 the number of fatalities was 257.
  • In 2017 as well as 2008, the NHTSA reported that motorcyclists aged 50 and older had the highest rate of weekend fatal accidents of any other age group.
  • According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly eight times more motorcyclists age 70 or older were killed in accidents in 2018 compared with 1997. In 2018, a total of 211 fatalities were recorded in that age group, while 27 died in 1997.

Jumping back on your motorcycle is a good thing. But please take all necessary precautions to have a safe journey wherever you go.