NHTSA’s Don’t Drink and Ride Safety Campaign
Motorcycles only make up about three percent of registered vehicles on the roadway, but riders are incredibly overrepresented when it comes to fatal crash statistics. In fact, the numbers are also disproportionate where alcohol is involved. Sadly, motorcycle riders are one of the few roadway user groups which continue to see an increase in crash fatalities each year. Like pedestrians and bicyclists, they just don’t have as much protection as drivers and passengers in traditional passenger occupant vehicles. With the holiday weekend approaching, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging motorcyclists to leave their bikes out of the party plans.
Alcohol Impaired Riding: Just the Facts
• In 2012, there were 4,957 motorcycle fatalities, which accounted for 15 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year.
• 27 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were legally drunk.
• Alcohol plays a large part in single-vehicle fatal motorcycle crashes.
• 43 percent of riders killed in single-vehicle motorcycle crashes were alcohol-impaired.
• On weekend nights, 64 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists were impaired.
Putting Yourself and Others at Risk
Not surprisingly, the motorcycle rider is usually the one killed in a fatal bike crash. Of the 4,957 riders killed in 2012, 93 percent were the riders and seven percent were the passengers. Even at seemingly low speeds, motorcycle wrecks can be devastating and fatal for riders and passengers.
If you’re not concerned for your own safety, at least think about the other roadway users who are not asking to be put at risk. Your motorcycle can become a dangerous weapon at high speeds. While drivers and passengers in traditional passenger occupant vehicles may have the safety benefits of seat belts, airbags and steel cages, they can still become injured or killed in collisions involving motorcycles.
Riding Safe and Sober
The NHTSA is quick to point out that riding a motorcycle requires an enhanced level of focus, coordination, and balance. Even one drink can diminish your hand-eye coordination, decision-making skills, focus, and balance. When operating a bike already requires so much energy and focus, why dull your senses? This holiday weekend and all year round, choose to ride safe and sober. If you plan on celebrating with alcohol, leave your bike at home or catch a cab at the end of the night.