A fall typically has more serious health consequences for an older person than someone younger. This is also true for older motorcyclists. Government statistics show that cyclists 60 and older are three times more likely to need hospitalization after a crash or spill than riders 30 and younger.

It is an aging body rather than unsafe riding that appears to be the culprit. Brown University researchers concluded that "decreasing elasticity" in the wall that protects the chest and diminishing bone mass are the main reasons for the more severe injuries. Researchers noted that the number of riders 50 and older has roughly doubled over the past decade.

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To provide some protection in case of a spill, the government recommends all riders wear clothes made of durable materials. This is especially important for older cyclists because of their susceptibility to more serious injuries.

Even if you've been riding for years, it's a good time to reacquaint yourself with motorcycle safety. Go to bit.ly/NHTSA-cyclesafety.