Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Older Motorcycle Riders… Enjoy the Ride, and Be Smart and Safe

While driving my truck over 800 miles on my Thanksgiving road trip to visit my family, I noticed many motorcyclists along the way. And in addition to seeing what appeared to be “more women motorcyclists” (which I addressed in my November 16, 2006 Post, “Women Motorcyclists” [women-motorcyclists]), I also observed that there were many older motorcyclists on the highways.

Upon my return, I was curious: What are the accident rates among older motorcyclists? In my searching for an answer to this question, I visited a very informative website, webBikeWorld.com (webbikeworld.com) and found some interesting Motorcycle Accident Statistics. For example, Bike World reports that motorcycle ownership for riders between the ages of 40 and 49 increased by nearly 28% from 1990 to 2003 (the latest year for which statistics are available). Motorcycle ownership also increased by about 25% in the 50 and over age group during the same period. The median age (50% over and 50% under) rose from 32 to 41 years old during the same period, and the average jumped from 33.1 years old to 40.2. Overall, between 1995-2004, the number of registered motorcycles rose by 1,883,679, an increase of 48%. The only conclusion I arrived at was: as older riders come to represent a larger proportion of overall riders, a greater percentage of accidents will occur among older riders.

About a month ago I was on my Harley on I-275 heading south over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge heading toward a well-known and fun biker bar. As I was going up the bridge, at 60 miles per hour (the speed limit is 65), a young man in his mid-twenties flew past me doing about 80. And as he passed me, he opened the throttle, lifted his front wheel and rode the next 100 yards or so on one wheel. Interestingly, he was at the biker bar when I arrived and we chatted. After I complimented him on his riding skills, he said to me, “Well, Pop, us younger riders just have so much more eye-hand coordination than your age group.” I agreed with him, but then added, “But sometimes we make up for that with better judgment?”

Any thoughts?

Be smart… be safe, Bill

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