Inj Prev doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2012-040619
  • Original article

Injury patterns and severity among motorcyclists treated in US emergency departments, 2001–2008: a comparison of younger and older riders

Press Release
  1. Michael J Mello2,3
  1. 1Division of Biology and Medicine, Department of Epidemiology, Public Health Program, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  2. 2Department of Emergency Medicine, The Injury Prevention Center at Rhode Island Hospital, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  3. 3Department of Health Services, Policy and Practice, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  1. Correspondence to Tracy L Jackson, Department of Epidemiology, Public Health Program, Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, 121 South Main Street S 121-2, Providence, RI 02912, USA; Tracy_Jackson{at}
  • Received 30 August 2012
  • Revised 26 December 2012
  • Accepted 3 January 2013
  • Published Online First 6 February 2013


Objective To examine differences across age groups in patterns of injuries sustained from motorcycle crashes.

Methods Cross-sectional data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program were used to assess emergency department-treated injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes in the USA from 2001 to 2008. Trends in injury frequency, and types and severity of injuries sustained among those aged 20–39 years, 40–59 years, and 60+ years were compared.

Results An estimated 65 660 patients 60 years and older, 466 125 patients aged 40–59 years and 921 229 patients aged 20–39 years were treated in US emergency rooms for injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes from 2001 to 2008. The number of injuries increased in all groups from 2001 to 2008, with the greatest rate of increase occurring in the oldest age group. Older adults had a threefold increased rate of hospitalisation (OR=3.05; 95% CI 2.58 to 3.59) compared with younger adults. Middle age adults had a nearly twofold increased odds of hospitalisation (OR=1.89; 95% CI 1.70 to 2.11; p<0.0001) compared with younger adults. Analysis of injury severity showed a similar pattern with both older adults (OR=2.46; 95% CI 2.02 to 3.01) and middle age adults (OR=1.66, 95% CI 1.52 to 1.82) having significantly increased odds of severe injury compared with younger adults.

Conclusions Older adults involved in motorcycle crashes are prone to more severe injuries than younger adults. The increased number of older adults riding motorcycles should put further focus on risk of injury to this population.

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