Older bikers wiser, but unfortunately not safer

Motorbiking in Scottish Highlands

Police in Aberdeenshire have this week made a plea to mature riders to ride defensively and sensibly at all times.

As the weather improves, we’ll all be looking forward to getting out and about. It is always worth taking time to make sure the bike is in good order, and that before heading away for an epic trip, make sure you’re comfortable being back on the bike.

Sergeant Rob Warnock, of Inverurie Divisional Road Policing Unit, asked riders  “If they have any doubts about their riding standard I would like them to seek out local training providers as the information they will provide will prevent them being seriously injured or killed on our roads.”

Experienced riders to revisit riding habits

Whilst suggesting that some of the more experienced riders revisit riding habits and consider further training may seem surprising, particularly for those with many years riding behind them, the figures make a good argument for it.

From March 1 2013, Police Scotland have recorded 11 motorcycle collisions leading to serious injury, and no fatal collisions across Grampian. The 11 seriously injured riders were all male, and the majority can be described as mature riders, in their 40s and 50s, with the oldest aged 64. 

Sergeant Warnock continued: “Aberdeenshire and Moray has a problem profile of mature riders on powerful bikes being involved in a disproportionately high number of serious and fatal collisions and I urge this particular group to listen to this message and ride defensively and sensibly at all times.”

Older adults involved in motorcycle crashes more prone to severe injuries

Our earlier blog on teaching older motorcycle riders new safety tricks raised the issue that older adults involved in motorcycle crashes are prone to more severe injuries than younger adults.

We all know that as we get older, we don’t bounce as well when we used to, when we have knocks. Younger riders suffer more arm fractures, possibly because they have faster reaction time and put their arms out in a fall, whereas older riders tend to suffer more severe upper body injuries, such as shoulder and chest injuries.

It isn’t all doom and gloom however. The number of collisions involving motorcycles in Grampian so far this year is down on the same period last year.

Although whilst it’s great news for all riders that the number of collisions is down, it isn’t clear whether this is an encouraging sign that road safety in the  region is improving, or whether fewer riders have been on the road, with riding habits being hindered by the bad weather.  Either way, make sure you keep learning, keep looking, and keep safe.

More information about refresher motorcycle courses

For more information on refresher courses, contact your local branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, look for local motorcycle training providers, or if you fancy riding out with a group to build your confidence, contact a local motorcycle club – for example http://www.kdmc.co.uk/ or http://melvillemc.forumotion.co.uk/ - and see if they have any events planned that take your fancy.