Should You Stop Riding Motorcycles When You Reach A Certain Age?

California motorcycle accident attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses age as a factor for riding motorcyclesWell everyone who knows me personally, or reads the Biker Law Blog, knows or should know that I sometimes embrace controversial topics. I am sure this article will be one of them.

So now I will pose the question; should you stop riding your motorcycle when you reach a certain age?

I recently read a book written by a gentleman named Ted Simon, called “Dreaming of Jupiter,” wherein the then 69 year old Ted Simon (a.k.a. Jupiter) rode around the world in a two year period. He had a couple of accidents along the way, one requiring surgery. However this man did ride around the world! (I will be reviewing his book in the Biker Law Blog soon.

There are a couple of indisputable truths; on average our bodily functions and senses start decreasing after 40 years of age, and the fatality statistics for motorcycle riders over 40 years of age who are involved in a motorcycle accident have risen alarmingly over the past few years.

Hell I just turned 45 years old myself this past June. I know I am not the same man that I was in my twenties or thirties, but I can pretty much still kick some ass, as can many of you if you know what I mean 🙂

Nonetheless, a long time motorcycle rider just signed up with my firm who has been riding motorcycles for over 50 years without a single accident; not a single one! Then one sunny afternoon as he is riding with a pack of 8 motorcycles, one of which was his son, and another, a former client of mine and a good friend, then bam, lights out, life flight helicopter, major injuries, stuck in a hospital in a medically induced stupor, well you get the picture.

For some reason this particular accident got me to thinking about my own safety on a motorcycle and whether I should retire from riding motorcycles at a certain age. Don’t get me wrong, I am a life long motorcycle rider, and could not imagine ever living without being able to ride a motorcycle.

My life experience riding motorcycles and my experience as a renowned biker and motorcycle accident lawyer in the State of California have definitely changed the kind of motorcycle I ride and the way I ride motorcycles. For instance, I now wear a modular flip up full face helmet 99.9% of the time while I am riding (in the past I wore no helmet or just a beanie), even though the guys I ride with are all wearing beanie helmets. I mostly ride with a full leather jacket on no matter what as well.

The cost/benefit ratio is just not palatable to me in case I am in an accident, i.e. losing my face in a crash as opposed to wearing a full face helmet, etc.

Getting back to the subject, should I stop riding motorcycles at a certain age, should anybody? We all know or have heard the stories about the old men and women who take out a crowd on a sidewalk in their car, or have caused accidents when they hit the wrong peddle in their cars.

On a motorcycle there are no second chances in most cases, especially for older riders who on the average have a harder time recovering from injuries than younger people. On a motorcycle, you must be sharp, have all of your faculties, and be able to function better then you would driving a car. Your life depends on it.

I have ridden in packs for many years. I can tell you without a doubt that there are many guys and gals riding motorcycles today, that should not be riding motorcycles, and that would probably fail a motorcycle riding test if they were given one.

If you are reading this, you may come to the realization that I may be talking about you! I hope not!

Riding a motorcycle requires constant practice to stay on top of your game whether you are young or old, but as you age the odds become stacked against you.

I read many biker websites and Internet forums related to bikers. It blows my mind that most of the people on these sites seem to spend more time writing about what a bad ass biker they are, then actually riding! How can they possibly be up on their game when they are sitting on their ass 7 days a week for hours at a time on an Internet chat room talking about riding?

Anyway, as for me, I have contemplated whether I should stop riding at a certain age. For me riding a motorcycle will always be fun, however, I have decided if there ever comes a time when I am a danger to myself in the saddle, I will hang it up. Hopefully if and when this time ever comes, I will realize it without having a motorcycle accident! I hope this time never comes, but if I do live to be an old man which I hope I do, it will inevitably come!

I hope the same for all of you too. Hell there was a guy from New Zealand in his 70’s that broke several land speed records on an Indian at the Bonneville Salt Flats. He even went down once. Even he questioned whether he was getting too old!

Why am I writing this article, well because I actually care about people? I would rather see you all safe than as a statistic.

I really would appreciate your comments on this subject.

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, © 2008

95 Responses to Should You Stop Riding Motorcycles When You Reach A Certain Age?

  1. There are a few older riders that I see at our local bike nights. One particular guy is probably in his 70’s and i had not seen him in a while. Then he showed up.. He had his bike converted to a trike, and on the back was his wife of many years. She had stopped riding with him years back because she felt it was unsafe, but getting the trike brought her back. So my guess is that if you feel you are too old for two wheels, then go to three!

  2. Norm, I agree with you completely. There will be a time when I need to stop riding, just like there is a time when I should stop driving. I’m hoping that neither of them comes to soon. Motorcycle riding definitely takes more skill, coordination and awareness than driving a car. Some of those traits go away quickly as you age.

    One point I’d like to counter you on though. The increase in the number of accidents riders over the age of 40 is not completely due to age. For several years now the number of riders over 40 has been increasing more than any other age group. We are finding that more and more new riders are coming into the world of motorcycling with little and often no previous experience. We’ve all heard that guy talking about how he “used to ride in his 20’s.” But he never tells us that it was just a mini-bike or dirt-bike before he roars off on his $30,000 chopper. Those guys are partially to blame for the increase in fatalities.

    Other than that, you are dead on…..

    If you ride You got to decide to be responsible in every way.

  3. To old to Ride
    I read a blog today and it really got me thinking.  It was about when we become to old, should we stop riding motorcycles.  I think there is a point where we not only endanger ourselves, but innocent bystanders also.  We have to take our own well-be…

  4. Norm, it got me thinking. I know that when I hit 50 I seemed to have slowed my riding down and have become more cautious. I know that a lot of this has to do with the fact that I’ve noticed some slowing down of my reactions and my thinking skills to handle a crisis if it was to arise.

    Like the saying goes:

    “Never ride faster than your Guardian Angel can fly”.

    BTW, any chance of getting a link from your blog to mine?

  5. Like any motorized two-wheeler, a motorcycle must be ridden with extreme care. Steering, accelerating, and braking require skill and a high degree of coordination to handle competently. If youÂ’re used to power steering, power brakes, and automatic transmission, learning to balance a motorcycle while handling its clutch and gear-shifter can be a formidable task
    >
    ————–
    micheel

    California Drug Treatment

  6. Well, I think that when you start thinking along those lines,
    you’re too old period. It’s not that you are too old to ride a
    bike; it’s just that we have reached a point in life when we
    beging to consider our own mortality. Whether you drive a bike,
    a car, a bicycle, or an electric wheel chair, death is surely
    nipping at our heals. This is also the time when we beging to
    think about God as well, even if you never rode a motorcycle in
    your life. For me, when that time comes, I’ll quit fucking too.
    😀

  7. There are many people riding who shouldn’t. Some of these people can’t drive a car much less handle a bike. Bikes are “in” now and very popular (add gas prices and they will be even more popular). Very little training. The local community colledge wants $110 for the basic MSF course! Harley Davidson training is even more. I was stopped at a check point the other day. The officer remarked that I was the only motorcycle endorsement he had seen all day. And the first bike of today is 100+ hp and weigh 5-600 pounds !

  8. Age has nothing to do with you hobbies. Indeed, you should be more careful if you have a family. You have to consider that fact that things won’t be the same if something happens to your health or, even worst, to your life! Riding the motorcycle is just one of the big number of examples you can have regarding this subject. Anyway, the idea is not to give up your personal pleasures as long as you don’t affect the others around you.

  9. Regardless of your age, when the motorcycle spirt and ride-fire in your belly goes out, it’s time to reconsider he wisdom of riding.

    I sold my bikes 2 years ago, thinking that I would soon buy a new model and continue riding. But after a low speed fall on very loose gravel (riding off-road) and waking up in the hospital, I haven’t had a strong urge to ride.

    I think I can still experience the freedom, adventure and the wind in my hair sitting driving open-air jeep.

    I might change my mind, but as I write this, I think I’ll have fond memories of my time in the saddle and leave it there.

  10. I’m 47, and I have a ten year old boy. I used to fly paragliders, but I started flying with more and more fear. Then I had one accident and one reserve pull because I was doing something stupid. The accident came out of the blue though, and I stopped flying then and there. Slight concussion, slight compressed vertebrae, but I fully recovered. But no more flying.

    Then I started riding motorcycles again. I have decades of experience, and now I have a BMW G650XChallenge, a nice on/off road bike. I love riding on both street and dirt. But I just decided to hang up the street riding because I’m having the same feelings I had while flying paragliders.

    I feel it’s not a matter of if but when I crash, and my self-preservation instincts are kicking in. I also have a somewhat Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde driving style. I ride very aggressively on the street, but I’ve been riding on and off since I was 14 and I’ve never hit or been hit by a car and never had an injury crash on the road. I hate the idea of giving it up, and it’s very conflicting and sad to make this decision, but so be it. What I hope to do is get a pure dirt bike like a Yamaha WR250F and have fun in the dirt on a light bike, but stay off the street and out of traffic. I guess you could say I’m quitting while I’m ahead, however I do wish I could keep riding anywhere/everywhere. Conflicting thoughts and feelings, conflicting interests. Gotta find that life balance and everyone has to make their own choice. Good luck and stay safe.

  11. Interesting discussion. I am 65 + and am a rider. In 2003 I rode my Hog from Eastern Pa, to Milwaukee Wis for the HD 100. I have ridden to MB and here and there at various distances for a number of years and it has been a ball. That said I can also say that from 2003 to today, 6 years later, things have “changed” and I think there are tow factors. First is simply ageing which means I have little to prove anymore and I enjoy being warm and relatively dry. The second is phyiscal condition. I have what I call, a butt job, meaning simply that is what I spend my day “on”. I have also not been dilligent in exercising ergo there is a deterioration in my physical condition. While this is not an element in driving my cage it is when riding my scoot. I cannot ride as long however, whats worse I become fatigued quicker (the old stamina). When you are fatigued, you get distracted and that’s when it happens. SO – I have started to pay more attention and I no longer attmept to win the iron but award but I also know that for me, the day is comming. I shall miss it.

  12. Pretty good analysis, Norman. I’ve been riding since 1956, and recently switched from a BMW K75S to a Savage thumper and down to a Honda Helix, barely freeway legal. I found myself lane-splitting at 85+ on the BMW and had a moment of insight. I’ve never been down in all those years because I’m terrified of motorcycles, hyper-alert. It’s definitely easier without the pressure to compete, and just enjoy the scenery on the back streets and twisties in Marin and the East Bay Hills. Long distances are just too wearing, and I’m spoiled by the stereo. I advise thinking seriously about backing off to acknowledge that things change, and we age. No fun aging with pain from unnecessary wrecks. I’m just under 70 and watched a couple Air Force crotch rocketeers eat the rails a few months ago. You don’t have to be old to crash. Enjoy what’s left in one piece.

  13. In June 2008, I was on I-80 in Pa heading for MI on my Kawasaki W650. I had not slept well the night before. South of Scranton I about 3-4 hours out from my home in CT and was somewhat tired. I began looking for a place to pull over to rest. I apparently fell asleep and awoke just before going off the road. I did not have the presence of mind at that point to lean left and straighten it out. Thankfully, the side of the road was grassy with no rocks, trees, posts or other obstacles. I stayed with the bike until I plowed a furrow in the ground and then became airborne and fell to the ground. I only had a small bruise on my leg. A state trooper watched the whole thing and came to my aid. He pushed my bike up the slope back to the highway and let me rest in the back of his cruiser. He was quite surprised that I was 73 years old. He did not give me a ticket and assisted with giving the tow truck directions. The bike was totaled and I rented a car to return to CT. A few weeks later I did ride my other bike a couple of times. I learned that I have sleep apnea and now use a cpap machine to help me sleep better. Fast forward to 2009. My remaining bike has not left the garage. I have really lost the desire to ride, but still think about riding the twisties and heading out on a long trip. Bottom line is that I’ve had my day and great fun on two wheels. I’ve ridden cross country and taken many other trips, some with my son. So even though I am sure I can handle it I may pack it in.

  14. Here in Australia we have an aging biker population. The biggest motorcycle club in the country is the Ulysses MC with over 33,000 members

    To be a full member you have to be 50 years or old. 40+yo’s can join as junior members. The club was started due to the majority of younger riders not want to ride with older memebrs of clubs and some clubs refusing to admit older riders. http://www.ulysses.org.au

    A club I belong to is a veteran social club made up of veteran mostly from the Veitnam era and most of us ride as part of the club activities. When I go to bike nights at the local bar ther majority of the regulars are 40 to 65 year of age. I’m 60 and been riding for more than half my life.

  15. I quit riding after a bike wreck when I was 17 that landed me in the hospital. I started riding again about 7 years ago (to ride with my son) and am now 73, and, I feel, a much better rider now than I was then. I’ve taken the MSF course and the Experienced rider course. Last year I switched from a heavy cruiser to a Kawasaki Ninja 250, which is a breeze to ride. Rigged with a taller windshield, handle bar risers, saddle bags, a tail bag, and different sprockets which let it cruise at a more comfortable rpm, it is great for running around town or taking long multi-day cruises, which I do regularly. I really believe that I am a more alert and careful rider than I am a driver. On the bike I’m never distracted by talking on the phone, adjusting the radio or heater, or getting too cozy and comfortable. I do realize that the day will come when I must “hang it up,” and I hope (and believe) I’ll know when that day arrives. However, I’m confident that my son (who is also a daily rider and riding partner) will not let me ride past that time without some gentle (or not so gentle) prompting.

  16. Bert Munro, New Zealand . ” Worlds Fastest Indian” JEEZ… Until i start making unresearched mistakes like that, I’ll keep rideing.

  17. Well Robert, a trike may give the illusion of safety for elderly and disabled riders, in that you do not have to hold it up or balance it the same as a two wheeled motorcycle. However, if you are too old to ride a motorcycle, you are probably too old to be riding a trike too. The dangers are basically the same, and a trike does bring forth it’s own set of dangers! (tipping over at high speed) This may not be the same for certain people with certain disabilities, and this is just my opinion. Obviously everyone is different, and their skills are not the same!

    Norm

  18. Thanks for your comments Jeff. If you notice I did not quantify all of the reasons for increased fatalities amongst riders over 40. We all know that the rapid increase in motorcycles on the road, especially with increased popularity, and higher gas prices as a factor, create many of the new fatalities, just as you said.

    Nonetheless, I have many motorcycle accident clients who are very experienced riders.

    Let’s just hope that we grow old and ride safe! This article was meant to get people thinking!

    Norm

  19. The TV show American Chopper depicts Orange County Chopper making customs and doing their thing. I do not really care for their motorcycles but you have to give them credit for becoming a success.

    I myself prefer factory motorcycles that are customized to my liking. Customs cost too much and are a real hassle to maintain. Factory motorcycles are backed by dealers and the parts are interchangeable. Service can also be done all over the world.

    Norm

  20. Well the problem Chris is that there are 80 year old out there riding cars who have hit the wrong pedal and ran into crowds and killed people. Did you hear about the carnage at the Farmers Market in Santa Monica? The man who did this felt comfortable driving, but became disorientated for a moment.

    On a motorcycle this would be disastrous, especially for someone that age.

    This is a subject that is uncomfortable to all bikers, the prospect of giving up riding because of old age. However, it is something that cannot be ignored. Your senses and reflexes get worse with old age there is no doubt about that.

    Norm

  21. Thanks for your comments Boots. I appreciate your honesty. Most would not admit the inevitable. I know many riders who have hung it up for various reasons. It is analogous to boxing I guess. Hopefully one day the boxer knows that he cannot take the beatings anymore and retires before he gets killed or seriously injured due to boxing. The old boxer knows that when he does get hurt, it takes much longer to recover. Elderly bikers are kind of the same, they know or should know when they cannot ride anymore.

    I ride with guys that are 70 plus and they can still do it. It all depends on the person, his or her physical and mental condition, etc. I have an uncle that is 70 and does not look a day older than 50 however he does not ride.

    I wrote this article after reading many articles about elderly people crashing their cars due to lack of faculties.

    Norm

  22. At 72 I had to Cross up to avoid a headon after skidding. Chances of reacting that quickly again are minimal. I gave up the BMW R100s and now take an occasional spin on my Motoskooter. Rode for 46 years, no spills, now 81 and coasting….

  23. I am 81 years old, and I am as mentally alert as I ever was, and almost as physically fit as I was when I was running regularly. So, do I quit running because I am 81 years old, and do I quit riding motorcycles because I am 81 years old?

  24. I dont commonly post on many another Blogs, still I recently should give you thanks for your public will be the solid foundation for charity keep up incredible work. Ok unfortunately its time to access my work.

  25. I am 80. I last had a motorcycle 16 years ago and had ridden all sizes most of my life. Before I bought my 400cc Suzuki Burgman scooter, I took a refresher class sponsored by a Harley franchise. I don’t drink, smoke or ride after dark. I do, however, sometimes drive fast in short bursts, cruising at 60 mph.

  26. Riders age!, reactions not as fast as they used to be!, wearing the correct attire,
    At 61yrs (in 2010) old I had done the C B T, and bought a 125cc YBR,
    Have ridden to work n back (25mile round trip) through 2 winters, inc one of the the worst winters England has known.
    Riding 12,000.00 miles per year,

    On my 2nd bike now, 1st was a write off 1 year ago, after some one drove out of a narrow road ( to my right) then stopped the car on the road in front me (06 foot away)to look n see if the road was clear, Bang,slammed into the passenger door I suffered multiple bruises n grazing, sprained limbs,

    If not for a hemet ( full face), skin/scalp would have been scraped off the left side of my head , left eye would have been knocked out ( visor was split /cracked,
    The armoured (Cordura fabric), jacket n trousers, paid a vital part in reduceing injury, they were badly torn /ripped ( has any one tried to physically tear Cordura fabric)
    Boots, left boot was a mess to say the least . but iff for them, my left toes would have been ripped out (ouch).

    All this from a 25mph impact

    It is compulsary in England, to wear protecive head wear whilst riding (inc passenger) a motor bike,
    Now you have read this article, I trust it will encourge folk not to take chances regarding safty attire n head wear, buy the best you can afford, your worth it !

    Thank you n happy biking
    Ian J

  27. I did a search to find this subject. I have been riding motorcycles since I was 33 or so, this would have been after I was married. When I was in college, I did own and operate a Vespa motorscooter. I would ride to work on it and traveled locally. It was a lot of fun. My first motorcycle was a Honda 750. My wife and I would take trips on it and after not very long, I realized not powerful enough for the two of us. I purchase new, a 1980 Honda CBX. Man was that a great bike. I road it for 20 years and sold it to a guy in Endland, I live in California. I was suffering from anxiety attacks and owning a bike that not many people could work on drove me to sell it. I am still kicking myself in he ass for selling it, it only had 10,000 miles on it, practically brand new and they don’t make them like that any more. Of course, if I wasn’t going thru the anxiety/depression thing I might not have sold it. Well, a few years ago I really started missing the bike and bought a 2009 Yamaha FZ-6. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a motorcycle so I bought this new for about $7K out the door. I was about 66 then and my wife and son thought I was crazy riding again and kept trying to talk me out of it. I love that bike, but at 6-2 and 240 lbs, I should have bought a bigger bike, but I didn’t want to spend more than $7 and more about that a little later. I was wondering how close I was to my time to retire the bike because of age and deteriorating reflexes, etc. I loved it, had no fear of driving it and it had plenty of zip and did not feel too small. The technology has come a long way on these bikes and they have more than enough power to get you around. My only complaints would be on the free way with the wind slowing me down somewhat, but a larger fairing would solve that as the power was there.
    Well, in Sept, 2009 I had my first accident on this bike. I had just left my street heading for work, and it was very foggy – mistake number 1, riding when visibility was pretty low. A woman (with no insurance and driving her mother’s car) came from my left to my right, making a left turn afte maybe stopping, I’m not sure how much of a stop she made, but she sure in hell was determined to knock my ass to the ground as I saw her coming at me at the last moment and tried to avoid her. She was having no part of that and kept coming until she hit me and I and my bike went flying. Wasn’t fun, I hit the ground hard, tried to stop the roll, but gave up as I was rolling too fast. As I was rolling, I saw my bike fly over me and it landed in a ditch a few feet away. I broke my left ankle, and other than that, could have walked away if I had boots on. Now comes the advice. I wore a heavy duty jacket and my upper body did fine, and with the helmet, I had no head problems. Now we get to the proper size bike and proper footwear. Like I said, I wanted to save a few grand, so did not get the 1000CC bike. For me, with my FZ-6 there was not enough clearance on the left peg to get my shoe (boot if I wore the proper footwear and size)under the shifter. Therefore, I was not wearing those heavy duty redwings I have, instead wearin regular dress shoes that allowed me shift the bike, and wind up with a broken ankle.

    The accident was the woman’s fault, and trying to collect is another story, but the fact she was determined to hit me, there is a question of whether my time to retire the bike had come. I didn’t feel it did as I had no fear after the accident and felt other “factors” were at play here. Oh, and I should have left the bike at home with the foggy weather and I would have been better off.

    Now, as I write this, trying to over come the pain of losing control of my bike last night and hitting the payment again, I have decided to retire my Bike. It really pains me to do so as I still have no fear and love riding the bike and will miss it. I can’t say what caused me to loose control and hit the curb, all I know was , it was night, dark and I could not navigate a turn as it appeared I was going too fast and lost it. I am not a speed freak and am careful and do not speed, so I am not sure what the exact cause was as it happened pretty fast. I just saw that I could not make the turn and was going to hit the curb. I tried to ease into it to minimize the fall. Nothing broken this time, even though I did not have my big heavy jacket on as the evenings had been warm and it was too constricting. My helmet took a good hit (newly purchased for $400 after my first accident) and protected my head very well. I did not have proper shoes on but did not break any ankles or feet. The only real damage was skinned knees and legs, elbows, and I am popping codene now after about three hours in the ER. When they tried to get the bike off of me, my right shoe (sneeker) lace was attached to the foot brake. It happened so fast, that it is possible that the foot getting caught on the foot break (right side) kept me from making the turn. I can’t be sure. But here again is the proper shoe problem. I’ve had problems with the left shoe lace of this pair getting caught on the shifter. I have to tie a small bow to get around this one.

    Yes, I will be 70 in Oct. and age is becoming a factor, although I’m not sure it was the main culprit here. Last night in the ambulance and in ER I was certain I was not going to go thru another fall like either of these two. Last night I was lucky I didn’t wind up on the third flow in a body cast. The scrapes I have are painful enough, not going thru that again.

    Let me re-iterate and offer this advise. If you cannot afford to ride the proper vehicle or wear the proper equipment, don’t ride. Your one accident away from a funeral, yours. Also, be mindful of weather, road condiditons, etc. It might save your life.

    Like I said, I’m not risking another accident like either of the two I have had, it’s not fair to my family, and if my writing skills are deteriorating, I don’t want to cause another person’s accident.

    Right now I am feeling less fear than I did last nihgt. And, I am wondering if one of those $24K BMW Super Touring bikes, ridden on the weekend and under perfect weather conditions be the answer. No, I think I will spend more time driving my Mustang Cobra. More protection and definitely enough power.

    • Jack listen man. I do motorcycle accident cases for a living. I feel bad that you have decided to hang up riding, but I am sure you know that it is the right decision for you.

      I have guys that decide to hang it up more younger due to a serious accident. Some guys never get the chance to make the decision because their accidents were fatal.

      Some guys decide to stop riding because they know it is not safe to ride anymore due to health conditions, loss or degradation of eye site, or flat out because they have a bad feeling.

      Then again, I know a 76 year old guy who rides for a major club and he is still salty.

      For each of us, it is an individual decision that we have to make one day or not make one day.

      Norm

      • Norm
        I hear you. I have no fear to ride again. I miss it already, as I sit here convalescing. It’s been a week and a half and I’m getting there. I still love riding and love the bike, but looking back, I could have really been paralyzed or worse. It’s a matter of, I won’t let this happen to my body again, whether it’s my fault or someone elses. I owe it to my family. Besides, the cobra isn’t have that bad. It’s a convertible and has a nice heater and cd player.
        Jack

  28. Hello fellow Rider’s. I have been Riding Motorcycles since I was 16. And now at 55 after Owning Honda’s, Yamaha’s, a Harley and Now a GoldWing….. I look back fondly of all those year’s of Riding Pleasure. I still take the Wing’ out for a Ride about twice a week. My Wife doesn’t ride too much with Me anymore. And now that We have GrandChildren -We spend a lot of time Fishing and taking hikes in the park. So I have been thinking about Selling my 93′ GoldWing lately. And Yes there is that Safety Factor at My age. I still Love Riding and except for a minor accident when I was 17 – I have been Blessed. I know that if I sell My Bike that I most likey won’t get another one in this lifetime. It’s just So Amazing to Ride – Freedom – Just like Flying. For Now, I’ll keep it perhaps a little while longer. Thank You, James C

  29. I am 63 and I ride. I brought my last bike ( HD Tourer) from a guy who is 72 and wanted to get a cruiser.

    If I can I will like him ride and ride and ride, right into the end.

  30. This is a discussion worth having, especially since the boom is entering this area right now. But all of us are different, not only in regard to ability and overall health, but also regarding motivation. For myself, and a growing number, the act of riding is what keeps us healthy and aware. Should we stop, we would become old right away. And this isn’t some floozy cruise down the avenue we’re doing. Nope. We ride mostly flat track bikes on the TT track at our local off-road park. Many of us are well beyond sixty. So is our top speed down the back straight. Injury happens out there, as it always has done. But so does exhilaration, adrenalin rush, and a welcome visit to a place of one-ness, where self and associated troubles disappear into pure action. Will any of us ever get too old to ride out there? Well, we might get too slow, or too tired. And then we really will be too old. Thanks for the thread.

  31. Hey..broke left foot twice..hurt shoulder..dislocated thumb…why? idiot sportsbike went around car in blind turn…ripped my foot open…ran into back of pickup on freeway-riding too close, crappy brakes..tires?..anyways…freeway riding is dangerous…prefer mountains…like your blog…

  32. well i just read your blog about getting older an i can tell you am 65 years old will be 66 in march i love riding my bike an am not the best of health on a fair amount of meds, but it does not put be in a stuber” thanks god for that i don’t know how much longer i’ll be able to ride but as long as i feal i still have good control of my bike an my secentes i will be riding as long as the good lord allow me to.

  33. I am a 69 year old female with nearly 100,000 miles under my belt and love touring.Still going strong…I was riding a BMW 1200gs but just downsized to a BMW 650 (800) lighter and better suited now that I’m admittedly pushing 70.
    Done the Dragon, the Snake (421)…all the nasty roads in my 60’s.
    Going back for more in May….Blue Ridge, Dragon, Smokies….I ride conservatively, safely and remain confident of my skills…The day I walk away from my bike will be a sad one because it has given me so many years of pure joy….but I know that day is coming. Never had an accident. Hoping for a few more years and most importantly….that I will know when to hang it up.

  34. I am a 69 year old female with nearly 100,000 miles under my belt and love touring.Still going strong…I was riding a BMW 1200gs but just downsized to a BMW 650 (800) lighter and better suited now that I’m admittedly pushing 70.
    Done the Dragon, the Snake (421)…all the nasty roads in my 60’s.
    Going back for more in May….Blue Ridge, Dragon, Smokies….I ride conservatively, safely and remain confident of my skills…The day I walk away from my bike will be a sad one because it has given me so many years of pure joy….but I know that day is coming. Never ride at night, or carry passenger.(My rules) Never had an accident. Hoping for a few more years and most importantly….that I will know when to hang it up.

    • Much respect!!!
      I actually planning on getting a Triumph Street Triple R. I’m 34 years old, and reading as much as i can about how you have to ride and treat your motorcycle, and soon i’m gonna strat with the courses before byuing the bike. I hope that i’ll reach your age while riding safely!!
      People like you inspire us!
      Thank you

  35. I’m 74 and still riding a S83 Suzuki. Sold my 1974 TY250 trials recently . I’m still a kid at heart. Have a. 72 year old friend that raced in
    Flat track in Waco ,TX 4/ 6/14 built bike has 250. Ducati custom frame and forks. He qualified for finals but was rained out. Pulled bike from Heber Springs AR to Waco Tx a
    Close to. 500 miles.

  36. Just a small point, think you will find the guy on the Indian at Bonneville Salt flats was a New Zealander by the name of Burt Munro, not Australian

  37. Not interested in quitting at 75. I ride around 18-20k miles per year split betwin my S1000rr and a new Diavel. The important thing is as we get older we need to ride regularly. As a leader in the local motorcycle, I worry about those young or old who do not ride regularly. I gave up heavyweight bikes 10 years ago – lighter the better. Regular education helps, attended Keith Code’s Superbike School at 73. I think I’ll know when and no longer ride at night.

  38. Do u think life warns us when it would be time to stop?
    My husband had 2 and 1 almost fall in the last 2 weeks. I was with him in one of them.
    I don’t want hurt his feelings but I think my (our) life worths more than motorcycle rides…

    • Many people don’t when to stop riding, that goes for cars as well. On a motorcycle there may be no second chances if you eat it. Sometimes you have to hurt someones feelings to save their life. You may want to have a talk with him with his doctor. There are many trike options out there now for older riders, I saw many at Sturgis.

      Norm

  39. I’m 64 and have been riding since I was 17…I too have asked the question if I am too old to keep riding motorcycles…One factor that has changed along with my age is the volume of traffic on even small town roads…I currently ride a V-Rod which I think is too much bike for me ,so I will downgrade to a slower touring type Bike IF I decide to keep riding….
    Also if old guys who ride would take into account their degraded reflexes, judgment, and vision,and rode accordingly it would seem to me that their safety would not be in so much jeopardy,i have never even had a close call while riding since I ride at or even at times below the speed limit in congested areas..

  40. i’m 68. I’ve been riding since I was 17. I’ve never even thought about quitting. Fact is, with the way auto traffic is these days, I’m not so much worried about myself as I am the young kids buying crotch rockets that they don’t know how to ride.

  41. I am 73, and have been riding about 45 years. I moved from So.Ca. to Virginia 4 years ago, bring my 2002 Vulcan 1500 Classic with me that I bought new. But with bad knee, and ankle, it got harder and harder to hold up and maneuver my 900 lb. Vulcan, so I traded it in for a new Can-Am Spider RT Limited Trike. It is Semi- Auto Thumb shift, no clutch lever or front brake lever. One test drive sold me on the spot, and I laid out $30 Grand on the spot, and have never regretted it, 23,000 miles later! I intend to keep riding as long as I can still walk and see!

    I still get the urge for 2 wheeler in the Spring, but it fades fast after a hundred mile cruise on my Spyder in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

    I have seen a lot of fatalities, riding motor cycles. In So. Ca., in my normal 100 mile Sunday cruise, I have close calls almost every time I went out in the crazy traffic headed for The famous Cook’s Corner.

    Ride safe, and trade for a Spyder Trike when you start having knee and ankle and reflex problems.

  42. I want some advise. I am 51 and want to get back to riding. I want to get a victory cross country. I stopped riding 19 years ago after riding for 20 years. I owned everything from small cc dirt bikes, to big cc sports bikes and my last one was a HD fat boy. I had over 20 bikes in all. At 51 and almost 20 years break I am a bit nervous about just jumping on a bike and just go. Any advise?
    Thx

    • Go to your local Honda dealer and have a look at the Honda CBR500r ABS. That’s what I am considering at 70 years old. I have had nearly every brand of bike. I want something light and easy to handle. I rented one and rode it around for a day. I felt a little cramped for my old bones, but was fun and handled quite well. I want ABS just in case I don’t still have the cat like reflexes of a 20 year old. Good luck.

  43. I’m 62 and still ride, but it does take a little more out of me than it did 30 years ago. I tire sooner, my hands go numb faster, and I realize that about every 50 or 60 miles it’s best to stop and take a five minute break (which helps tremendously). I agree with the comments regarding riding more frequently to stay sharp. The more I ride, the better I do. When it sits for a month, I’m a little sluggish. Now, unlike in my youth, I like to go to an empty parking lot and just do some figure 8’s or slalom riding to get back into the feel of the bike. Bottom line, a person can ride at any age, as long as they keep themself in shape, ride safe,stay focused and learn to take more breaks than you did at 25. I don’t take the chances I did as a kid, which gives me a leg up now I didn’t have then. I’ve always worn the full helmet and sturdy garments, so that’s not new. What’s new is simply the understanding that as you age, the body simply can’t be expected to do what it once did, but the mind can overcome those limitations through vastly greater experience, always anticipating somebody else’s errors on the road, and listening to your body when it tells you it needs a little break. I ride a Moto Guzzi Norge 1200, so I’m not convinced you need a smaller, lighter bike at all. (Name one bike in your life that you ever had to bench press?). It’s like a horse: if you know how to ride it, it doesn’t matter how big it is as long as you can still put your foot through the stirrup and get on up…

  44. I’m 72 and just downsized to a maxi scooter BMW C650GT and love to ride. I never ride at night and never drink while riding. Hoping to ride a few more .

  45. I am 73 , going to be 74 in 6 months , have been riding all my life !!!, road raced for about 10 years , road flat track , enduros , TT , right now I have a custom 100 inch Chop bike ,I built , I have put on about 9000 miles on it , a Honda CBRR 600 I have put 50000 Miles on , with clip on bars , not a sit up model , Love it , Love riding , my Passion !!!!!!, I split lanes , ( with respect ) everyone is different , a person should stop riding if they don’t feel safe !!, I think a lot of the younger riders get I’m trouble on bikes with crazy horsepower !!!!. & not much experience !!!, I have had many close calls while riding , but I still have very good reflexes !!, I believe all my years of road racing has made me a very good rider , so for now I will ride as much as I can !!!, hopefully for many more years !!!!!!

  46. I am 73 , going to be 74 in 6 months , have been riding all my life !!!, road raced for about 10 years , road flat track , enduros , TT , right now I have a custom 100 inch Chop bike ,I built , I have put on about 9000 miles on it , a Honda CBRR 600 I have put 50000 Miles on , with clip on bars , not a sit up model , Love it , Love riding , my Passion !!!!!!, I split lanes , ( with respect ) everyone is different , a person should stop riding if they don’t feel safe !!, I think a lot of the younger riders get I’m trouble on bikes with crazy horsepower !!!!. & not much experience !!!, I have had many close calls while riding , but I still have very good reflexes !!, I believe all my years of road racing has made me a very good rider , so for now I will ride as much as I can !!!, hopefully for many more years !!!!!!

  47. After being off bikes for 30 years, I have returned to riding and have just purchased a 2015 Harley 1200 custom….Concerned safety, I am now taking a basic course in riding, have purchased all the safety gear and look forward (in increments) to once again ride…I am in excellent health.. .BTW, I am 75

  48. I am 48 and about to start motorbiking : )I have always loved bikes just have not been brave enough to ride them. If not now then when?
    Please wish me luck!!!!

  49. I am 50 love riding I ride 600 miles weekly. I commute. My suggestion is keep plenty of room all around during high congested freeway take your time where a bright florescent vest all times. Check your ride everyday. if your riding in rain just take it easy and don’t stress always drive defensive and be alert and know your machine. Just remember when you are out on the freeway the only control you have is you and your bike. I plan to ride till I am to old when that is the question. I ride a 96 cc Harley 2008 Road King Classic. Also a full helmet and armor back and chest plate along with knee and elbow protection is also my suggestion.

    Be safe and enjoy the ride.

  50. I am a 74 yr old man and i cut my teeth on motorcycles back in the 1950,s. Most of my riding was done in Southern Calif, I moved back to Nova Scotia, Canada and when i did i decided to get ride of my motorcycles, thinking i would not probably be riding back here. Well as it turns out this has to be one of the most perfect riding areas for motorcycles so i could not stand being without one so about 6 yrs ago i purchased a 2002 Sujuki Intruder 800 cruised bike and i love it.
    I feel pretty comfortable with the bike. Your article gave me something to think about in regards to age and size of bike. Of course i dream of having a beautiful full dress Harley but a little voice inside my head says …..you are not a young man any mote and this bike you have will give you the pleasure of riding with the confidence that it will not let you down. All i do is change oil and put new tires on it. I need to listen to that voice and enjoy the few more years of riding that i have. I should be grateful that my health is so good and my reflexes are up to par.You bikers will have to come do the world famous Cabot Trail here on Cape BReton Island. Its kinda like the hwy. 1 on the northern coast of Calif…….only its on steroids ! Ya gotta come do it guys and gals. Look me up.

  51. I live in Scotland where one can only ride safely for six months of the year – the other six being consumed by inclement weather – there are brave souls who ride all year – at the start of every new season you have to familiarise oneself with the rules of biking – I am now 58 and must admit I am not as physically fit as I once was – I stop more frequently and think twice before that risky manoeuvre – if one is honest I reckon we all know when it’s time to hang up our boots

  52. The question was raised in 2008 – it would be interesting to know if the author is still riding? At 63 year old (40+ years riding) I see the question as being far from simple. For me, I’ve slowed down, embrace practice and ride different bikes. I just rode my V-Strom from Prince Edward Island, Canada to El Salador , five weeks in Mexico – solo, then return to my home on Prince Edward Island. Brilliant three months of riding. But all that said, 63 ain’t 36 and adjustments must be made, or the price will be paid. Hope to talk to you twenty years from now, from the saddle, to tell you how things are going!

    • Can you offer a comment/opinion on the importance of changing to a relatively light bike when one reaches your age or older? I’m older than you and could live with a Versys or a Triumph America or equivalent-sized bike. But I have my eye on an FJ1300, having ridden with love an 89 FJ100 years ago. I’m still very strong, work out 4-5 time per week with relatively heavy weight, practice and train others in martial arts, run, bike, etc. But I know my reaction time – while not slow – are not those I had as a young man. Think a big, beautiful FJ might be too much? It seemed fine for me when I test rode it. My riding would be almost all country in WY, MT, SD and the like. No commuting.

  53. I am 67 years old and ride a highly modified Kawasaki 1400 (172 HP) at least three times a week year round. I find myself talking out loud with glee in my full face helmet often. Why would i ever quit such joy. The other day I stopped in Smileyberg, Kansas to watch a longhorn bull. Never would have happened in a car or truck. Life is to live and Live I will. Safer, yes; slower, maybe; but quit NEVER.

    Kawasaki Crazy in Kansas

  54. The diff between an aging motorcyclist crashing and an aging cage driver crashing is the motorcyclist usually only hurts himself..
    That said, as far as what age?? I just qualified for my NHRA motorcycle et 10:00 second and under competition drag license last year and running the high 9 second quarter mile. It will be awhile before I hang up my leathers…I am 78 .

  55. I forgot to mention that I did an Ironbutt SaddleSore 1000, last yr ( 1000 miles in 24 hours) and an Ironbutt Buttburner 1500 Gold along with teh untold road miles rode thruout the year..

    Quiting is not an option..:)

  56. I also wonder when the time will come, it is my life. I get out as much as I can and that isn’t enough. Hundreds of thousands of miles, yet over the last few years I have also started to change some of my thoughts about safety. I avoid riding with people I consider a hazard, I bought a vented jacket so I am never bare skinned, I moved to DOT helmet and it goes on. Thankfully Polaris has put out some pretty cool three wheelers and maybe Harley, will have some as well by the time I wan’t to give up the 2 wheels.

  57. I think one needs to use self-introspection and reason even if it hurts. I’m “young” at 57, but just lack the strength and “killer instinct” to handle a big, fast motorcycle anymore. People will say they are a lot older and still riding fast, but that is where the introspection part comes in. Me, I simply have lost the desire. When that goes, you need to be very careful. I will always ride, but just slower and smaller bikes. To be on a bike that’s bigger than your desire or reflex’s, you are asking for rash.

  58. I rode a Kawasaki 250 street bike to work every day in Florida. That was 36 years ago. I am in NC, and I have the urge to ride again however I am 71 yrs old. I have been looking at a Suzuki 400 or 650 scooter. No shifting sounds great to me. I am physically in great shape, 165 lbs, walk 4-5 miles daily and gym 3-4 days a week. I still have concerns about riding because of my age. I have a couple of friends who ride BMW’s and are urging me to get back on two wheels. Any comments yea or nay would be great. Thanks

  59. I’ll be 75 next month and still ride dirt bikes, mostly off road. One is street legal, but seldom ride on the street. It is too dangerous. I mostly trail ride, but the places are scarce in Kansas, so I go to Colorado and Utah to ride a couple of times each year. Those rocks and trees don’t pull out in front of you. Don’t know what I’ll do when can’t ride anymore. It’s about the only fun I have anymore.

  60. I ride every day and have done since i was 15years old ..now at 55 i ride a triumph 900 scrambler and im thinking it might be my last bike.There is a world of difference between the roads and traffic of the mid 1970s to what we have today in the uk. There is no doubt you need to be much more aware today than ever before…But riding every day keeps you sharp even at 55..If you are going to ride..ride evry day and ride in all weathers..get to know your bike and its capabilitys and always ride within yours. After i post this im out on the bike..im not going anywhere i have no plans im just going to ride ..and to me thats the best thing in the world ..well apart from my grandchildred ….RIDE SAFLEY FOLKS

  61. I am 62 years old and ride an FJ1200 (have for years). I have been riding motorcycles since I was 15 years old and I am the most skilled rider (off the track) that I know. Every time I ride (which is whenever I can), some bonehead on a cell phone (or just a bonehead) causes me to take action to avoid (my) injury or certain death. Somehow I get a rush from riding in heavy traffic or at speed on the open highway. Did someone say “Canyons”? How I miss California. I break all of society’s rules when I can do it without endangering others and get a rush every time. When reaction to a hazard is second nature, you are ahead of so many younger riders who only know how to look cool. I have often wondered if and when I should stop riding; when I’m dead is the only answer I can “live” with. P.S. I’d rather be lucky than safe.

  62. I still ride at 69. I had a fifteen year hiatus due to an accident, guy jumped a red light put me through his windshield. Once I got back on a bike that was it I became addicted again. I am riding a Vulcan Classic 1500 and this past summer over eight thousand kilometers. I find now as most before have said I have slowed my riding speed and tend to be far more cautious regarding everything from road conditions to weather. I feel I will stop when I can no longer hold the bike up straight. Someone said they talk to themselves inside their helmet I talk and sing, love riding nothing compares to it.

  63. I have been riding since I was sixteen, I am now 63. Started on an Italian scooter, on my fifth two wheels, a 2007 Harley Road King.
    I am a Lone Wolf. It’s my preferred style, go where I want to go and when, no dues necessary.
    I am considering taking the road with an RV now, but in order to do so, the bike might have to stay home (don’t like Toy Haulers, too confined).
    I do think about my safety, even recently lost a friend to a careless driver and read about people being killed almost what seems daily.
    I have kids, grand kids and great grandkids whom I want to visit with for many years to come.
    I don’t ride as often as I use to, not because of desire, but because I babysit a great grandson nearly five days a week, but I can’t go anywhere with him unless I have access to four wheels, which my wife needs for work.
    My wife also rides less, she has fibromyalgia and riding is quite difficult with her and I feel guilty taking her for an extended ride of any kind (which is not often).
    I’ve tried to sell my bike multiple times, but get cold feet when I think about being without it, so I pull the “for sale” sign and ride when I can.
    I have considered downsizing to a more easier to handle bike, but money is not as easily obtained when you’re on social security (lost my job and hard to find one at my age).
    So, at my age, what does one do?
    My self made patch says “Ride to live and live to ride” yet the bike stays under cover 90% of the time. Yet when I get a chance to ride again, it’s like I’ve never been off.
    So, I could use the money if I did it to get my RV, but the anxiety I go through to sell it doesn’t seem to be worth it. And not riding it as often seems out of whack as well.
    Growing old is hell in many ways. It’s a ordeal I only get to go through once, but here I am, still thinking about my next ride, my next bike, and when is being too old an issue. Apparently I won’t know until it happens.

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