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Keeping Your Skills Sharp Over 45

Posted in: Rider Training and Safety | by Barb Piatkowski | April 09, 2016

SUMMARY:

Barb Piatkowski, a longtime rider training instructor and currently the Field Operations Manager for the Rider Training Institute, knows a thing or two about motorcycle safety and has a complete arsenal of motorcycle riding skills. So when she talks about the approach that older riders should take to riding, we do well to heed her advice. We know you’ll find the following article extremely interesting. Thanks for sharing, Barb!

“I’ve been riding for 30 years, I don’t need to take a course!”

Really? Do you still play sports as well as you did 20+ years ago? Sure, age and experience are important. And those lower insurance premiums are just one of the benefits of getting older and wiser. But there’s a downside to riding when middle age rolls around, and for some older riders simply mentioning the word “training” can make them feel like they’re being labeled as novices. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re new to the sport, getting started with the right training will help give you a leg up over younger riders who don’t have your maturity. If you’re returning after a few decades out of the saddle, take advantage of the latest training methods fine tuned for today’s traffic environment. And yes, even seasoned riders will benefit from training that helps them further hone their skills and refine their techniques.

There’s no shame in admitting it takes some work to maintain our skills as we get older. Physical aging doesn’t just affect our ability to control the motorcycle, but our reaction time as well. Unfortunately, data that’s emerged in recent years doesn’t paint a flattering picture for riders aged 40 years and over. A University of Rochester Medical Center report indicates that since 1990, the fatality rate for riders aged 30 and under has decreased while fatalities for riders 40 and over have steadily increased. Similar increases in incident rates for older riders have been recorded in a number of jurisdictions from the United States to Australia and New Zealand.

The bright spot on the horizon for mature riders is that there are a multitude of ongoing training options available to help keep those skills tuned and you on top of your game. Take a group riding course or maybe an advanced technical skills session. Book it for yourself or gather up your pals and make a day of it. Whatever training path you choose, it’s important to remember that one of the best things about motorcycling is that it’s a lifelong passion with lifelong learning opportunities.

A very wise rider once said to me, “Show me a rider who knows everything and I’ll show you a liar.” Interesting sentiment for sure, and there’s a lot of truth to it.

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