Aging is a gradual process that acts over the course of decades. Many of its effects are barely perceptible but they occur just the same. Visual clarity, peripheral vision, night vision, and the eye’s ability to refocus between the near and far fields all diminish. Reaction speed, muscular strength, flexibility, and general stamina also diminish. All of these physical capacities are important to motorcycling. Motorcycling’s inherent dangers make greater demands on reaction time, quick judgments and physical stamina than driving a car.
Yet, the number of older motorcyclists on the road are rising because of our aging population. The aging process makes it more difficult to avoid accidents and the reduced muscle mass and weaker bones increase the injury rate of older riders who get into motorcycle accidents. Their injury recovery is slower and they are more likely to die from their injuries than younger riders. What this means is that older motorcyclists must adjust their riding to accommodate the fact that they aren’t young anymore. As you get older, you want to transition from the aggressive young person to the “wise man/woman” who rides smarter.
Six Tips for Older Riders on Avoiding Motorcycle Accidents
- Avoid bad weather. Riding in the rain is difficult for riders of any age. Don’t let bad weather catch you by surprise. Take the time to check forecasts and radar maps before starting your ride.
- Choose safer routes. Use online maps to choose routes that avoid busy urban areas. You can also zoom-in to spot riding hazards such as routes requiring lots of left turns, multiple lane highways, roads with lots of side roads, railroad track crossings at bad angles, and routes with too many intersections. If you aren’t using your bike to commute to work, identify and avoid the routes used by rush hour traffic.
- Ride more defensively. Get more actively interested in this skill and turn it into a science. Increase your following distance and hone your road scanning skills. Be a chess player and anticipate the moves of the traffic around you. People give away cues about their intentions. Learn to read them.
- Get your eyes checked. Without your vision, you can’t ride. Identify and treat vision problems before they get you into an accident. In addition, you can’t afford to ride with a dirty windshield, visor, or eye-glass lenses. Keep them clean.
- Get a comfortable motorcycle. Discomfort reduces your riding stamina and it only makes sense to get a “good-fitting” and comfortable bike.
- Exercise. This is the best way to slow down the physical diminishment brought on by age. Your exercise routine should include strength training, flexibility, and aerobic training. Aerobic exercise improves blood flow, and better blood circulation improves physical and mental functioning.
If you were injured in an accident, contact us at Hogan Injury for legal advice.