Many motorcycle crashes are the fault of people in bigger vehicles. They don’t pay attention and end up causing serious harm to a motorcyclist that they didn’t notice.
However, some motorcycle crashes are caused by the person on the bike. Inexperience is often a contributing factor, with new riders more likely to make mistakes that lead to disastrous collisions. Alcohol also plays a role in a substantial number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities every year.
Someone with a motorcycle may not realize they’ve had one drink too many before they leave a party or a bar and head home. How often does alcohol play a role in motorcycle collisions?
Drinking causes more than a third of fatal motorcycle crashes
Alcohol plays a role in many crashes by increasing reaction times, impairing judgment and even making people fall asleep at the wheel. Drunk drivers cause crashes with other vehicles and with pedestrians. They can even wind up in single-vehicle crashes. For motorcycle riders, a single-vehicle crash could involve someone running into a tree or even laying their bike down during a sharp turn.
Both single-vehicle and multi-vehicle crashes caused by alcohol can have tragic outcomes for motorcyclists. According to data provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, about 36% of motorcyclists who die in crashes have high levels of alcohol in their bloodstream.
In other words, more than one in three fatal motorcycle collisions is the direct result of the rider having had too much to drink. There’s another complicating factor. Researchers noted that it was much more likely for someone to go for a ride without their helmets on after they had consumed alcohol. Sober drivers were far more likely to use protective headgear.
Police are on the lookout for drunk motorcyclists
Law enforcement officers don’t just try to catch drunk drivers in cars, SUVs and trucks. They will also pull over and arrest someone on a motorcycle who seems to be driving while drunk. An impaired driving charge could cost you your license and even affect your career goals.
Understanding that alcohol use and motorcycles are a major public safety concern can help you avoid making mistakes about when to drive. It can also help you decide how to respond if you face impaired driving charges after a ride on your motorcycle.