Sunday, January 23, 2005

Your Midlife Crisis could Kill You....
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, among others, Motorcycle fatality trends worry officials:
Mike Cullinan made a midlife course correction, breaking up with his girlfriend and buying a Harley-Davidson motorcycle: a 620-pound Dyna Low Rider with a 1,450-cc, fuel-injected engine.

Lots of baby boomers and middle-age Americans like Cullinan, 38, are getting motorcycles, whether to recapture their lost youth or pull through some kind of midlife crisis.

As a result, riders 40 and over are accounting for an alarming number of motorcycle deaths.

Safety experts suspect that older riders with a lot of disposable income are buying more machine than their out-of-practice bodies can handle.

Across the country, the annual number of motorcycle fatalities among 40-plus riders tripled in the past decade to 1,674 in 2003, while deaths among riders under 30 dropped slightly to 1,161, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In going against the usual trend in trauma, the victims are getting older:
According to the NHTSA, the average age of motorcyclists killed in accidents rose from 32 in 1994 to 38 in 2003.

''It's really kind of astonishing. The ages of these fatalities are so high. You would think it would be all of the young kids on those fast bikes, but it's not,'' said Carl Hallman, highway safety coordinator with the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The surge in deaths among older riders helped push motorcycle fatalities higher overall. They jumped by nearly half during the past five years, from 2,483 in 1999 to 3,661 in 2003.
Older drivers are buying larger and more powerful motorcycles and their abilities aren't what they used to be:
''They haven't ridden in 20 or 30 years, so their skills are rusty. Motorcycles have changed, and they're getting bigger motorcycles. And they're getting on without a refresher course,'' said Cathy Rimm, program director for Motorcycle Rider Education of Maine, a nonprofit organization that offers safety training.

The older crowd also is more likely than younger motorcyclists to ride while intoxicated and to ride without a helmet.
So you might want to stick with the hair transplants or the Porsche and avoid the Harley.
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