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The Aging Road Warrior: National Trend toward Older Riders Impacts Outcome after Motorcycle Injury

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Industry statistics suggest that motorcycle owners in the United States are getting older. Our objective was to analyze the effect of this demographic shift on injuries and outcomes after a motorcycle crash. Injured motorcyclists aged 17 to 89 years in the National Trauma Databank were reviewed 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, complications, mortality, 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 (P < 0.01), 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 (P ≤ 0.01). The rates of admission to the ICU (32.3 vs. 27.3%), pre-existing comorbidities (20 vs. 9.7%), and complications (7.6 vs. 5.5%) were all higher in the 40 years of age and older group (P < 0.01). 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 comorbidities and complications contributing to poorer outcomes. Motorcycle safety education and training initiatives should be expanded to specifically target older motorcyclists.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departments of Surgery, Strong Regional Trauma Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, New York, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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