The topic of stopping riding your motorcycle is as polarizing as it can be. Many families will eventually have to deal with this topic as many motorcycle riders will say that if they can still breathe, they will continue riding.
So at what age should you stop riding a motorcycle? The age at which motorcycle riders should stop riding a motorcycle is dependent on their physical, mental, and overall health condition. The majority of motorcycle riders stop riding their motorcycle at ages between 60 to 85 depending on how confident they feel, how capable they are, and the local laws.
Of course, this can be considered somewhat of a sensitive topic. If you tell some riders that they are too old to ride, you better not be standing anywhere near them.
But let’s take a more objective look at the matters at hand.
How old is too old to ride a motorcycle
It may depend on where you live; the numbers may vary, however, generally speaking, it is very common for people in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s to ride their motorcycles every day.
So the question of when one should stop riding their motorcycle is frequently raised in families that have people riding a motorcycle.
As you are, perhaps, already guessing the question is usually not about age alone.
The answer to the question of what age a motorcycle rider should stop riding a motorcycle can be found in the person’s physical, mental, and overall health condition.
Listen to your body. It will tell you when you are too old to ride a motorcycle. There is no better judge here than you, yourself, and your body.
Sometimes 85 may be too old to ride a motorcycle, and others 70, 60, even 50 may be too old for such activity. So it will be very individual and situation-based.
There are a lot of older riders, and some of them are returning riders. However, one of the more depressing facts of life is that older riders are more likely to suffer from serious or fatal injuries in a crash.
One study found that motorcyclists above 60 were three times more likely to suffer from a serious injury than younger riders below 39. The middle-aged riders between 40 and 59 are two times more likely to suffer a serious injury than the younger riders.
There are a few very good telltale signs that you may need to stop riding your motorcycle regardless of your age. You have to consider your strength, balance, eyesight, reflexes, flexibility, and mental clarity.
There are two main reasons why old motorcycle riders will stop riding their motorcycles.
I know a few riders that are pushing into their 60s and 70s and are still riding their motorcycles almost daily. Some of them have problems with their hips and are simply taking several different pills just to deal with the pain. So is this a good idea? Well, it isn’t. And, I am sure, you do not need a doctor or the people at the DMV to tell you that.
If your body is aching and hurting while, and after you have ridden your motorcycle, then this is a clear sign that you need to, possibly, ride less or stop altogether.
There are various types of medical conditions and other physical limitations that will almost always not allow you to continue riding your motorcycle. The list of medical conditions is very long, but these are usually made pretty clear in most state laws.
Some examples are:
- Experiencing seizures or dizziness.
- Legal blindness.
- Experiencing passing outs.
- Loss of limbs.
- Abnormal heart rate.
- Psychological disorders.
This is a very short list of several things that will make your riding a motorcycle not only a danger to yourself but to others as well.
If you are taking medications or undergoing some kind of surgery or a treatment that may affect your attentiveness, ability to concentrate, focus, and stay fully awake then you might again not be capable of riding a motorcycle.
All of those conditions are usually quite clear, and even an avid rider will know what they mean. They can happen to anyone at any age.
However, with time age may take its toll.
There are a lot of problems that may come with old age. People tend to get weaker and frail.
Your reaction time and reflexes may get slower. And anyone who’s been riding a motorcycle for a while knows that your reflexes and ability to react quickly and adequately can save your life on the road.
Your eyesight may get weaker, and your eyes may get tired very quickly.
If your eyesight that you have trouble reading the signs, judging the gaps between traffic and intersections, and overall having difficulty keeping track of everything that is moving around you, this can be a recipe for trouble.
If you do not feel confident and at ease, while riding your motorcycle anymore, then this can be a good giveaway that there is something iffy going on.
See article: How to get over the fear of riding a motorcycle?
While moving on a two-wheeled vehicle, balance is everything. It is true at higher speeds you may not have to worry so much about balance, but at low-speed maneuvers, things can be very difficult. You may feel very wobbly and unstable at lower speeds—especially if you are riding a heavier motorcycle, which is harder to ride at lower speeds in general.
At what age do people stop riding a motorcycle?
Motorcycle owners will stop riding their motorcycles at different ages. Usually, this topic becomes more discussed and considered after the age of 40. Some riders will stop riding between 60 to 85.
Depending on where you live, there may be an age limit as well.
Some people will stop riding a motorcycle even at younger ages—20, 30, or 40, for example. One of the more common reasons for that is simple—family. Or more to the point, kids.
Everybody knows that riding a motorcycle does not guarantee you will crash or be seriously injured. However, it is very likely, that not a lot of people will want to put their lives at stake when they have family and kids.
In many cases, if you decide to continue riding, that is okay. Ultimately you are the one deciding what to do with your life. But it is recommended to get yourself life insurance, long-term disability insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage.
Is age a problem when riding a motorcycle?
Age is not necessarily the problem when riding a motorcycle.
Generally speaking, if you can pass the safety test, then you should be capable of riding a motorcycle safely. You can read more about the MSF tests and whether they are worth it in my article here.
This is especially important to returning riders who haven’t ridden a motorcycle in a while. You do not technically forget how to ride a motorcycle, but you do lose some of your reaction time, and reflexes, and get a little slower, so an MSF course is a good way to brush up on your skills.
However, choosing the right motorcycle is also important. It is recommended to go with something smaller and lighter. A motorcycle that you are feeling comfortable with.
Oftentimes older riders also have more experience; they are better able to judge the different situations and react accordingly. They will often drive more conservatively than younger riders. So just because they are older, this does not put them at a disadvantage. After all, getting good at riding a motorcycle takes a lifetime and then some.
When some riders start feeling less comfortable and confident riding regular two-wheel motorcycles, they will often consider opting for a trike.
Regardless if you go with a standard trike with the two wheels at the back or a “reverse” trike with the two wheels at the front, it will not make much difference.
A three-wheeler will eliminate some of the things that you need to worry about while riding, but they do not remove the root cause of why you should not ride a motorcycle in the first place.
With that being said, riding on a three-wheeler is, in fact, very different and will feel very unnatural to a person who has been riding a regular motorcycle their whole life. In a way, switching to a trike may be more dangerous.
What are the signs that you should stop riding your motorcycle?
There are multiple different things that you should look for. Perhaps experiencing just one of these will not affect your ability to ride a motorcycle, but if you experience two, three, or more, things are starting to look more serious.
- An increase in the close calls.
- Frequently feeling tired or weak for no apparent reason.
- Feeling nervous and uncomfortable while getting ready to ride or while riding. And if you do not feel confident in your ability to react in time if something unexpected were to happen.
- Problems concentrating and staying focused.
- Difficulty staying in the moment and being fully aware of your surroundings.
- If your eyesight is bad and you cannot see the road at night.
- Slow reaction times.
- If you have difficulty getting on or off your motorcycle.
- If you get lost or cannot remember how to get to places, you know.
- If you frequently drop your motorcycle and cannot pick it up.
- Difficulty maintaining a line or staying in your lane.
- Difficulty seeing the traffic signs and signals at riding speed.
- Difficulty maintaining balance while riding your motorcycle at a slower speed or while sitting.
- Decreased ability to judge the distance between the vehicles and the distance at intersections and ramps.
- If other people are telling you to stop riding and not just your family.
Are there laws regarding when you should stop riding a motorcycle?
Depending on where you live, there may or may not be any laws regarding older motorcycle riders.
In some areas, older riders may be required to undergo vision tests or certification from a medical professional. Some may also require riders to undergo knowledge and practical tests in order to assess their ability to ride a motorcycle.
Typically motorcycle riders aged between 64 and 80 may be required to pass such tests depending on where they live.
It may interest you to know that with age, the renewal periods also tend to shorten, so they become more frequent. This is done for the safety of both the rider and the other people on the roads.
The renewal process also can change depending on where you live. A lot of places will require the renewal to be done in person. You can find more information about mature drivers here.