When you ride your motorcycle on Oklahoma’s roadways, you need to be focused, attentive, and always ready to react at a moment’s notice. Motorcyclists are significantly more likely to be injured and killed in accidents than people in passenger vehicles (often because of other drivers’ negligence), so avoiding crashes by focusing on safety should be your number one priority every time you ride.
All riders, young or old, inexperienced or veteran, can be seriously hurt in the blink of an eye while riding. And although riders ages 20 to 39 experience the greatest number of injury-causing crashes among all age groups, older riders are more likely to suffer devastating injuries during crashes that can put them in the hospital or threaten their lives.
This blog explores why older riders face a higher risk of debilitating and life-threatening injuries—and what their options are when those injuries are caused by negligent drivers.
The Type of Accident Matters for Riders
Although even relatively low-speed crashes can be seriously injuring or even fatal for motorcycle riders, certain types of crashes are more likely to result in devastating injuries than others. When younger riders crash, they may experience less severe injuries because their reaction times are faster and they’re able to avoid more direct impacts and collisions. Older riders, on the other hand, may be unable to avoid those types of collisions.
In addition, researchers have found that older riders lose control over their bikes more often than younger riders. Loss of control can mean more serious collisions, as it means less opportunity to slow down and reduce the severity of impact or avoid head-on collisions and other devastating types of crashes. Younger riders also may be more likely to “dump” their bikes to avoid high-speed impacts, which can still result in injury, but typically non-fatal injuries.
Older Riders Have Less Resilient Bodies
There’s no escaping the ravages of time. The same age-related ailments that reduce mobility and increase susceptibility to disease also make injuries worse and more difficult to recover from. Factors that can impact the severity of an injury include flexibility, bone density, core strength, and overall muscularity. All of those are impacted by age, making older riders more likely to be seriously or fatally injured in motorcycle accidents that may not have caused as much damage to a younger rider.
Older people’s bodies are also less efficient at reacting to and repairing damage from injuries. Clotting is slower and less effective when heavy bleeding occurs in older individuals, and their organs have less protection and less regenerative capabilities when they’re damaged in accidents.
Pre-Existing Conditions Can Worsen Injury Outcomes
Another factor to consider is pre-existing conditions. Older riders are more likely to have pre-existing injuries and health problems that can aggravate or worsen injuries that might be less severe in younger riders. For example, older riders with blood pressure problems or diabetes may have impaired cellular repair processes, while riders with a history of stroke or heart attacks have less oxygen and blood flow available for injured body parts and organs.
Less Severe Injuries Are More Likely to Be Fatal for Older Riders
Injuries that younger riders experience few complications or recover quickly from can be more debilitating, disabling, and potentially fatal for older riders. That means an injury that may cause only minor setbacks or pain for younger riders can put their aged counterparts at risk of death, even if they get prompt and adequate treatment at a hospital.
Older Riders Aren’t Always at Fault for Their Crashes
Although age-related changes can put older riders at higher risk of both crashing and suffering serious injuries, most riders, regardless of age, are injured in crashes involving other drivers. And many of those crashes are caused by drivers who aren’t looking for motorcyclists, distracted, or who fail to give riders the space and respect they deserve.
When riders are injured in crashes caused by negligent drivers, they suffer serious injuries that often result in enormous medical bills. To make matters worse, older riders may already be retired and on fixed or limited incomes, which means their ability to pay for their medical bills may be less than their younger counterparts on the road.
Our Lawyers Help Injured Riders of All Ages
At Parrish DeVaughn, our Oklahoma motorcycle accident attorneys know how vulnerable riders are, both on the road, and if they get injured. They face not only a lack of safety features on their bikes, but also uncaring and even biased insurance companies that refuse to pay them the money they deserve.
If you or someone you love was hurt on their motorcycle by a careless driver, we want to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.