Key Points:

Middle-aged men are the most likely people to be injured in motorbike crashes - and the same group of men were having the most crashes 30 years ago.

The trend has emerged in a Herald study of accident hospitalisation data, which shows a host of competing trends in how we are getting injured.

More than 70,000 people were admitted to hospitals last year. The rate was more than 500 for every 100,000 people in New Zealand, 45% higher than in 1988.

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Falls was the number one cause of injuries but this does not mean we are becoming clumsier. An ageing population has resulted in a greater number of falls which require hospitalisation - every year 5 out of every 100 people over 80 will be admitted to hospital after a fall.

For those under 20, the rate of falls has actually been in dramatic decline, dropping by a quarter in the same period.

Middle-aged men are the most likely people to be injured in motorcycle crashes. Photo / NZME file
Middle-aged men are the most likely people to be injured in motorcycle crashes. Photo / NZME file

The other great success has been in road safety, with injuries from car crashes falling by 40% since 1988, and injuries for motorcyclists falling by two-thirds.

But that fall has not been even. In 1988, young men were the most likely people to be injured in motorcycle accidents - nearly 70% involved a male aged 15-29. In 2018 though, they only made up 28% of motorcycle accidents.

The group at greatest risk of a motorcycle accident in 2018 were actually men aged 45-59 - that is to say, the people who were aged 15-29 in 1988 are once again the highest risk group, despite being 30 years older.

Explore the data for yourself in the interactive visualisation below:

The data came from the Otago University Injury Prevention Unit. You can access the original data here.