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Thread: How old is too old?

  1. #1
    buzzez
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    How old is too old?

    Fellow BMW-philes,

    In light of the recent tragic news about the 86 year old in CA that drove through the Farmers Market, killing 10 pedestrians, has me wondering.

    How do we know if we are too old to be out riding our bikes?

    I've riden with guy's in there 70's and frankly, they sometimes scare the hell out of me. I know I'm probrably touching on a sensitive subject, since many of us are senior citizens.

    I'm just curious to know if any of you older guys have a plan, a standard of skill or test yourself on an annual basis to make sure you're not endangering yourself or others as you ride.

  2. #2
    Rally Rat MarkF's Avatar
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    It's all about reaction time

    There is a simple solution to this problem and it's been used in studies for years. It's called a reaction time device. It's simple! You are presented with a simple either or choice and it measures your reaction time. Some are as simple as red light brake, green light gas. Some have more elaborate senerios. It's easier than real life driving. You know you are going to have to make a decison then minutes later it arrives. Your reaction time is then measured.

    It's really not all about age but about your ability to make quick life or death decisons but the states will not impliment it's use for driver license renewal for one reason. VOTES! The AARP crowd is one of the largest voting groups and they don't want it.

    Having investigated accidents for more than 15 years I think the elderly acceleration problem is more complex than reaction time. I think it's based on the psyche of the older adult. At some age people find it harder to admit they are wrong, even to themselves. Therefore, when you think you have your foot on the brake but it's on the gas and the car isn't stopping instead of reevaluating the problem you just push down harder and if that doesn't work you blame the car.

    MarkF

  3. #3
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Re: It's all about reaction time

    Originally posted by oilhed
    Therefore, when you think you have your foot on the brake but it's on the gas and the car isn't stopping instead of reevaluating the problem you just push down harder and if that doesn't work you blame the car.

    MarkF
    You don't have to be old to have that problem either.

    I think most of us remember a car that was maligned badly.

    I think when you start to get beyond the average life expectancy, you should have to requalify for your driver's license every 2 or 3 years.

    My dad lives in south Texas and is 74. Driving is very, very important to him. He lives sort of out in the boonies and if he didn't have a way to get around, he'd be screwed. However public safety is equally important. That's why I think instead of just removing driving priveliges after some age, we should test for competence periodically.

    Should the right to drive be removed all at once? Or should, based on eye exams or other criteria, should there be a stepped reduction along the lines of "No night driving", "No urban areas" or something else?

    Insert sweeping generalization here:
    Folks that are older now came from an era when people took some pride in driving well and carefully. What's going to happen when the folks that are currently driving and have no such pride get older?
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  4. #4
    Rally Rat MarkF's Avatar
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    Re: Re: It's all about reaction time

    Originally posted by KBasa
    You don't have to be old to have that problem either.
    You got that right!

    Originally posted by KBasa
    Folks that are older now came from an era when people took some pride in driving well and carefully. What's going to happen when the folks that are currently driving and have no such pride get older?
    Ouch! Mean things might get worse?

    MarkF

  5. #5
    buzzez
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    How old is too old?

    BMW- Philes,

    Maybe age is only part of the issue. Maybe being honest with ourselves is more the idea I'm thinking of. I also know younger riders who crash on a regular basis. There comes a point when one should re evaluate whether or not they should continue riding, when they find that they are crashing in situations where they should know better.

    A lot of us continually read up on and take safety courses just to stay on top of our game. I think self evaluating ourselves as we get older should just be part of what we've been doing through the years to stay fresh and aware. I don't recall ever reading anything about "Age and skill evaluation". Too touchy?

    Any articles out there on this subject?

  6. #6
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  7. #7
    leave my monkey alone LORAZEPAM's Avatar
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    Having been a law enforcement oficer in Ohio in the past, I know that there is (or was) a form available that could be filled out that mandated retesting by a driver including the road test. Ohio normally renews your license with just an eye test, and this form was implimented to help remove drivers that were a safety hazard to other drivers. I would imagine that other states have a similar procedure to remove hazardous drivers, and the form does not say elderly drivers, so it doesnt target seniors, just drivers that are a hazard.
    Gale Smith
    2009 Versys
    1999 R1100RT

  8. #8
    MichiganMike MICHIGANMIKE's Avatar
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    How Old Is Too Old

    Michigan also has a program for Law Officers or Family members to refer an older driver/rider for review. After my wife was struck by a 70+ year rider on a BMW Club ride the rider was referred by the officer investigating the accident. The rider must have glanced at his map and went off on the shoulder, he twisted the throttle on full bore and passed me on the right and T-boned my wife's bike right at the footpeg as she was turning a 90 degree turn. In addition, my Mother maintained a legal license for Michigan until she was 96 years old when she passed away.
    The last renewal was done by mail by myself just to see if it went through. It did with no test, written or physical. I had previously been the family member who took her car keys etc, with some sad consent on her part after riding with her on a weekly basis and determining that she was no longer capable of driving even during the day hours. A hard thing to due but necessary.
    Sorry for the long post but felt it should be stated.
    Michigan Mike

  9. #9
    Rally Rat MarkF's Avatar
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    Re: How Old Is Too Old

    Originally posted by Michigan Mike
    Michigan also has a program for Law Officers or Family members to refer an older driver/rider for review.
    In Connecticut a LEO can do the same if he has just cause with a letter to the DMV Comissioner signed by the Chief of Police. One LEO I knew would refer everyone over 65 that was in a MVA but either didn't know what happened or who's version of the events were obviously far from fact. But, you need a cooperative Chief and after a MVA it's often too late.

    MarkF

  10. #10
    Registered User Fritzc's Avatar
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    Re: How Old Is Too Old

    [i]through. It did with no test, written or physical. I had previously been the family member who took her car keys etc, with some sad consent on her part after riding with her on a weekly basis and determining that she was no longer capable of driving even during the day hours. A hard thing to due but necessary.
    Sorry for the long post but felt it should be stated.
    Michigan Mike
    Hey Mike, I'll give up my bike same as you and your two brothers,
    "When they pry my cold dead fingers off the handlebars!"


  11. #11
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
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    My two cents

    I believe myself to be responsible and pretty considerate of other people. My impression of many of the folks who contribute to this forum is that they are also responsible, considerate folks.
    If we continue in honest self-evaluation (as another post has stated) and continually seek to sharpen our riding skills, then I think there is no certain "age" when we need to get off the road. I am not opposed to subjecting myself to reflex-type tests to help determine my competence behind the handle bars or steering wheel.

    If we remain objective, responsible, and considerate, then we will remove ourselves when we realize we could be endangering ourselves and others.
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!
    www.yearroundriders.com

  12. #12
    buzzez
    Guest

    Checking out

    >Hey Mike, I'll give up my bike same as you and your two >brothers,
    >"When they pry my cold dead fingers off the handlebars!"


    That reminds me of an old joke I know:
    I want to die like my grandfather "He died in his sleep." Not screaming in horror as the car flies of a cliff, like his passengers.

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