Accident on GA-6 Fits Upward Trend in Older Biker Deaths
A Sunday excursion on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle ended tragically for a husband and wife on Georgia Highway 6. According to the Georgia State Patrol, it was around midnight, July 3, when a westbound 1999 F-150 pickup clipped a 2002 Chevy Silverado, causing that truck to collide with the motorcycle. LeAnne Dobson was killed and Robert Dobson critically injured and airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital.
The Dobsons fit a demographic of older motorcycle enthusiasts who are increasingly likely to be involved in serious and fatal crashes. According to the Insurance Information Institute, “Older motorcyclists account for more than half of all motorcycle fatalities.” Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show an upward trend from 46 percent of all fatalities in 2013 to 55 percent in 2014. The longer range trend shows the number of riders age 40 and older killed in traffic rose 39 percent from 2004 to 2013, while fatalities among all riders rose only 16 percent.
Injury rates among older bikers also outpaced the increasing injury rate of all bikers. This is especially true of riders 60 and older, who are two-and-a-half times more likely to sustain serious injuries than younger riders, and three times more likely to be admitted to the hospital.
Why are older motorcyclists at greater risk?
The Insurance Information Institute does not make conjectures about the reason for the increased risk, other than older riders favoring larger bikes, which are more prone to tipping, and the increased fragility of older riders’ bodies, which makes them more susceptible to bone fractures. However, one further conclusion is inescapable: reaction time slows with age, making it more difficult for older riders to perform evasive maneuvers.
Given these facts, what should older riders do to continue to enjoy their bikes safely? The first lesson from the Dobson crash might be to get home early in the evening. Riding during hours of peak visibility allows the rider to see potential problems at a greater distance and react sooner. Moreover, the hours after 9 p.m. are more dangerous for drunk and/or drowsy driving. In the case of the Dobson crash, the Georgia State Patrol administered a field sobriety test and found no indication of alcohol. No charges have been filed, pending an investigation by the Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team.
McMenamy Law LLC wants you to be safe while biking throughout Georgia. But if you’ve been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, contact us right away to schedule a free consultation.