NYT publishes an article on motorcycles and it's this crap?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Kevin Moore, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. Kevin Moore

    Kevin Moore Adventurer

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    #1
  2. Bentebent

    Bentebent Adventurer

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    It's not like it's only NYT that's published this. Why is it crap?
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  3. Mr_Gone

    Mr_Gone The Lejund!

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    Damn. I'm getting old.
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  4. EddieMac

    EddieMac Adventurer

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    The article is not crap. It makes sense and the data support it. 'Round these parts we call something like that a "fact."
    #4
  5. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    Of course it is CRAP! What's the matter with you?
    It reminds me of facts that face me. That's crap, no?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21350883
    #5
  6. drrider1

    drrider1 just running amuck

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    duhhhh! shit breaks easier the older ya get:deal that said ..........try not to fall down.................:lol3
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  7. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    Because that's what OP calls facts that he doesn't like?
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  8. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    I am guessing you are really the one to understand risks and statistics. More power to you! We are cheering you on!
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  9. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

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    Well I'll bite.

    The article is crap because it makes the usual crappy leap from a set of stats to a prediction of the likelihood of certain, usually unpleasant, events.

    What facts are offered?

    - Graduate student Tracy Jackson combed through a federal database of motorcycle crashes that were serious enough to require emergency medical care.

    - That yielded about 1.5 million cases involving motorcyclists 20 or older from 2001 to 2008.

    - She split them into: riders in their 20s and 30s; another group between 40 and 59; and those 60 and older.

    First finding reported: "Over all, the study found that injury rates for all three groups were on the rise. But the rise was steepest for the oldest riders."

    Okay, what is meant by injury rate? The article does not say, but if you check the original study abstract cited, it is quite clear that the so-called rate is simply the raw number of injuries.

    So, the number of injuries in the 60-plus group is rising, and more quickly than the number in the other groups. So what? One possible reason, and IMO the most likely, is that the raw number of over-60 riders is rising just as quickly.

    (After all, what else could it be? Over-60s are getting dumber? Less skilful? Less well coordinated? :huh)

    No cause for alarm, folks. :deal

    Next finding reported: "Compared with the youngest motorcyclists, those 60 and older were two and a half times as likely to end up with serious injuries, and three times as likely to be admitted to a hospital."

    Sounds worrying, doesn't it? Until you remember that the study group is restricted to people who had crashed and needed emergency medical care.

    (It is also worth noticing that nearly a million of those were in the 20-30 group, and only 65,000 in the over-60 group.)

    So, what could explain that?

    Well, one possibility is that older folk are much more likely to be wearing good protective gear, which will protect them in minor spills. They might also be less likely to have minor spills.

    Remember, any rider who does not crash, or whose crash does not require emergency treatment, was not part of the study.

    So, one theory not explored in the article: a much bigger proportion of younger riders needed emergency care for relatively minor spills resulting in road-rash and small-bone fractures.

    Older riders had fewer of those, and walked away from most with no-one calling an ambulance. When they did need emergency care, the injuries usually were serious.

    And of course, older bones do break more easily. Which we knew anyway. Nothing to see here, let's move on. :1drink
    #9
  10. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    I think it's amazing how often this article is being posted on this website, and how much you guys are freaking out over it!

    If you're older, you know one thing is true -- you don't bounce anymore. When you fall, you are more likely to break stuff. Period.

    All this article is showing is that if you are older and happen to fall of your motorcycle -- put two and two together!

    Bottom line? Don't crash your damn motorcycle. And if you complain about this article, then you have no right to complain about "old drivers" being dangerous due to limited reflexes, etc, because you are probably just as old.
    #10
  11. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

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    Very good analysis; you don't live up to your name at all, Moronic.

    'Injury Rate' used this way is a terrible variable name. It implies the proportion or frequency of injuries, as opposed to total number. Total number of accidents alone is near-meaningless.

    As an aside, you can usually tell the serious transport studies; when comparing accident figures between groups of users/vehicle types/whatever they all refer to the only variable that really matters, "Deaths and Serious Injuries per Passenger-Mile" or some variation thereof. What this would mean in this instance is that you take the total number of miles travelled by, say, riders in their 30s in the study and look at how many accidents/serious injuries occurred to the this group as a whole. You then do the same for the over 60s (or whichever group you want to compare). This automatically sorts out things like, different numbers of participants in a group, wildly different mileage patterns within the groups, etc. It is a very elegant way of comparing (often very different) groups/vehicles/etc. and getting a meaningful picture of the relative risk of them. Trying to evaluate how dangerous 'a typical 65 year old' is, relative to, 'a typical 35 year old', without this is next to impossible.
    #11
  12. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    More proof that you should not dress up like a Pirate and prtend to be a biker. :ymca
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  13. Snapper

    Snapper Long timer

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    +1
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  14. Bentebent

    Bentebent Adventurer

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    Yet you reject the article based upon assumptions of your own.

    Unless the older population has also increased at 3x the rate of younger adults, wouldn't this mean there IS an increase in serious injuries for older riders? It's not a stretch by any means, we're seeing the same thing here in Sweden. The older population is increasing but they're crashing at a faster rate than they're growing.
    #14
  15. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    Was it on page 205?
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  16. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

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    No. I reject the article because it is very confusing and because it offers only the more alarming of many possible explanations for the figures it cites.


    No. By "rate of hospitalisation", they mean the number admitted to hospital from among those who crashed and needed emergency care.

    By "threefold increased rate of hospitalisation compared with younger adults", it is not entirely clear what they mean.

    One interpretation would be that the increase in that number over the study period for older riders was three times greater than for the youngest riders. But since there are 15 times as many young riders getting hurt, and all numbers are rising, that is extremely implausible.

    More plausible is that "rate" is being used ambiguously, so that for this figure it does refer to a proportion: that is, the proportion admitted to hospital from among those presenting at emergency departments. So it is saying that the increase in this proportion was three times greater for over-60s than for under-40s. So for example, the proportion for under-40s might have risen from 20 per cent to 21 per cent, while the proportion for over-60s rose from 40 per cent to 43 per cent.

    But we are guessing because neither the newspaper piece nor the abstract it is written off make things clear.

    What is clear though (as pointed out by others above), is that the study makes no attempt to compare the numbers hurt in crashes with the numbers riding.
    #16
  17. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

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    "Damn, all those elderly cagers out there who can't read street signs and don't bother signalling and just drive into other cars without a care of the world, those old people should have their licenses revoked and put in homes for being such dangerous drivers!"

    -- says every 65-year-old biker without self-awareness.

    Here's a helpful hint: getting older affects everyone, whether behind the wheel, or behind the bars.

    I hate that life is a bell curve, but it's true: corrected for experience, both younger and older drivers *and* riders are riskier than the ones in the middle.

    No one escapes biology. Or gravity, for that matter.
    #17
  18. Aussijussi

    Aussijussi Long timer

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    Anyone nearing 60 or over it, 64 in my case, will know all the facts mentioned in the nyt article, unless they're really thick in the head. It won't stop me riding anyway. I slowed down, well, some, but i do agree on that you have to recognise the limitations brought on by age, eyesight, reflexes, cognitive functions, and stiffness of joints, turning the old head can be a pain!
    #18
  19. mammal

    mammal Been here awhile

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    How do you know someone's full of shit? 92% of the time 73% of their argument relies on statistics. That being said, it's the implied conclusion that bugs me, especially since the method of statistical analysis, as Moronic pointed out, is unclear. The implication from the article is clearly that older riders are a risk to themselves, at the very least. Really? So the graybeard riding on his 20th bike is more dangerous than the 20 year old with a learner's permit (maybe) on one wheel at 90 mph? There's a lot more than reflexes and 20/20 vision that contributes to an accident.
    Sure, the guy who rode a CB450 25 years ago and buys a Goldwing when he retires maybe is a risk, but maybe even he has the sense to ride within his limits.
    Rant off, back to my beer.
    #19
  20. jnclem

    jnclem True Airhead

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    Just two thoughts:

    63% of all statistics are made up on the spot, and come on people, it's the New York Times. How much truth do you ever find in the NYT?
    #20