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UMTRI study finds older bikers are over-represented in motorcycle crashes

February 4, 2007

Baby-boomer bikers dominate roads, but at a cost

A recent UMTRI study found that the number of motorcyclists age 45 and older killed in crashes nearly quadrupled from 2001 to 2005 (the last year for which data is available). Crashes among this age group increased more than 60 percent during that time, compared with a 6 percent drop in the number of crashes for younger motorcycle riders.

"The aging of the motorcycling population in Michigan may be contributing to the increase in motorcycle fatalities," said UMTRI researcher Lidia Kostyniuk. "As people age, their bodies become more fragile and their chances of dying as a result of a crash increase. This may well explain the increase in overall motorcycle fatalities that occurred in Michigan in 2005, a 54 percent increase from the year before."

In their study of motorcycle crash trends in Michigan since 2001, Kostyniuk and colleague Adam Nation found that the motorcycle crash rate has held steady at 9 percent, even though motorcycle registrations have risen 33 percent (to more than 250,000) and licensed motorcyclists have increased 9 percent (to nearly 500,000).

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