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The aging motorcyclist

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The aging motorcyclist

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Motorcycle riders are getting older and more seriously injured

Motorcycle riders are getting older and more seriously injured

Motorcycle accidents can cause devastating injuries – shearing of skin, fractures, head injuries, massive bleeding. I have worked on several that resulted in fatalities. A few involved defects in the bike that resulted in the crash. All of the cases involved young men under the age of 30.

A study shows that motorcycle owners in the United States are getting older. The researchers looked at injured motorcyclists aged 17 to 89 years in the National Trauma Databank involved in crashes from 1996 to 2005. Age trends and injury patterns were assessed over time.

Injury Severity Score (ISS), length of stay (LOS), intensive care unit (ICU) use, comorbidities (other illnesses), complications, death, injury patterns, helmet use, and alcohol use were compared for subjects 40 and older versus those younger than 40 years old.

There were 61,689 subjects included. Over the study period, the mean age increased from 33.9 to 39.1 years, and the proportion of subjects 40 years of age or older increased from 27.9 to 48.3 per cent. ISS, LOS, ICU LOS, and mortality were higher in the 40 years of age or older group. The rates of admission to the ICU (32.3 vs. 27.3%), pre-existing illnesses (20 vs. 9.7%), and complications (7.6 vs. 5.5%) were all higher in the 40 years of age and older group.

Motorcycle riders are getting older and more seriously injured.

The average age of the injured motorcyclist is increasing. Older riders’ injuries appear more serious, and their hospital course is more likely to be challenged by illnesses and complications contributing to poorer outcomes. Motorcycle safety education and training initiatives should be expanded to specifically target older motorcyclists.

The next time you see an older motorcyclist, give him or her a wider berth and be extra considerate. Think about the slowed reflexes in an older person and the higher risk of injury. If you ride cycles, check out the tips at this site for avoiding injury.

The Aging Road Warrior: National Trend toward Older Riders Impacts Outcome after Motorcycle Injury Authors: Brown, Joshua B.; Bankey, Paul E.; Gorczyca, John T.; Cheng, Julius D.; Stassen, Nicole A.; Gestring, Mark L.

Source: The American Surgeon, Volume 76, Number 3, March 2010, pp. 279-286(8)
Publisher: Southeastern Surgical Congress

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