As Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month draws to a close, we would like to point out one very important part of motorcycle safety: drinking and riding. Mixing the two is a bad idea for many reasons. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studied the effects of alcohol on motorcycle riders. Here are some key findings:
- Alcohol is more likely to cause motorcycle crashes than any other type of vehicle accident. Alcohol is a factor in one in four auto accident fatalities and one in three motorcycle accident fatalities.
- Any alcohol consumption can affect motorcycle handling. Test subjects had noticeably impaired reaction and handling skills at legal blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of .02, .05 and .08.
- The higher the BAC, the more the riders had to focus on their riding skills to stay within boundaries.
One important thing to keep in mind about this study is that researchers chose to examine skilled riders with at least five years of experience. Considering how much alcohol affected their riding abilities within the legal limits, we can assume that new or inexperienced riders would be more prone to alcohol-induced accidents, especially if they consume more than the legal limits.
Considering the amount of focus, balance and awareness needed to ride a motorcycle, it makes sense that alcohol would affect a motorcycle rider’s performance more than an automobile driver’s. The best option: if you are drinking at all, make other transportation arrangements.
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