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Brown Study: Bad Breaks for Older Bikers

Personal InjuryMotorcycle Accident Lawyer



by Andrew L. Shapiro

(818) 907-3230


Researchers at Brown University recently published results of a six year study of emergency room statistics in the journal Injury Prevention: Older motorcyclists suffer serious injury when involved in accidents.

In fact, bikers pushing 60 or older are 250 percent more likely (middle-aged riders ranking at 66 percent more likely) to suffer more than scrapes and bruises in a smashup, than motorcyclists half their age. Senior riders tend to get more upper torso fractures, internal organ injuries and brain traumas.

And according to the Los Angeles Times, other studies show an 87 percent increase between 2001 and 2007, in injuries for motorcyclists over 65, while fatalities rose 145 percent. The Center for Disease Control says that 34K motorcyclists were killed between 2001 and 2008, and an additional 1.22M were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for motorcycle accident injuries.


Avoiding Serious Motorcycle Injury


Here in California, the Department of Motor Vehicles offers two types of licenses. The M1 license is for drivers operating any type of motorcycle; the M2 license is for motorized bicycle and moped drivers. Applicants under 21 must complete a state-approved motorcycle safety course.

Motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet in California – but gloves, boots and heavier clothing to minimize injury are a good idea. In fact, some Brown research critics claim younger bikers suffer more abrasions and contusions than their older counterparts, because they don't buy the proper protective-wear.

Lane splitting, lane sharing or white-lining as it is sometimes called – is still legal in California. However, the state Highway Patrol offers some safety guidelines regarding speed, the environment, and other factors. The CHP website advises, Lane splitting by motorcycles is not illegal in California when done in a safe and prudent manner.


More Fracturing Figures


The Times article also cites a quarter of all U.S. motorcyclists are over the age of 50, and that this older segment of riders has doubled since 1990.

The Brown study publishers say 35 percent of this group required hospital treatment, while only 25 percent of middle-aged riders and 15 percent of young riders involved in accidents suffered injuries serious enough to require hospitalization.


Andrew L. Shapiro is a Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and the Chair of our Personal Injury Practice Group. Contact him via email:


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