Motorcycles offer an incredible sense of freedom. They allow you a chance to enjoy a feeling of power, autonomy, and connection with nature. There comes with motorcycles an inherent individualism. This is that freedom that motorcyclists seek and find.
You must treat this freedom with respect. If it is abused, the consequences can be deadly. Motorcycling demands skill and good judgment. Alcohol impairs both.
Yea, yea, yea. You’ve heard this one before. “Drinking and Riding Don’t Mix!” Let’s say it again, because some people aren’t listening. It’s easy to have a few drinks and get on a motorcycle. It’s late. You want to get home. But riding after you’ve had a few is a deadly gamble.
Motorcycling and drinking kills. The person who dies will probably be the motorcyclist or the passenger on the bike. The other consequences are also severe. You can be arrested, put in jail, and have your license taken away. A DWI on your record will affect your future in unpleasant ways. Imagine what your boss will say when you ask for time off to do time in the workhouse. What about a new job? Sorry. That DWI shows up on your background check. Good luck finding a new insurance agent. Maybe you’ll be lucky and just total the bike you love–not yourself or anyone else.
A motorcyclist’s reaction time is seriously impaired when alcohol is in the blood stream. This can cause even the most proficient motorcyclists to make mistakes they would otherwise not make. The impaired motorcyclist will not recognize dangers on the road, and will lose track of what’s going on around him or her. After all, motorcycling is the art of avoidance.
There are some terrible statistics when it comes to motorcycles and alcohol. In Minnesota, in 1995, there were 25 deaths due to motorcycle accidents. Although this number is the second lowest in a ten year period, it should have been much lower. 22 of the 25 people killed in motorcycle crashes were tested for blood alcohol level. Seven of the people tested registered no alcohol in their system. Two of the people tested registered alcohol levels between .01% and .09%. Thirteen people had blood alcohol levels in excess of .10% which is the number at which the state of Minnesota considers a person to be legally drunk. Of the people tested, 59% were legally drunk at the time of the motorcycle accident that killed them. 68% of the people killed had some alcohol in their blood stream. Anyone with .05% blood alcohol level or above is violating the law. It’s called criminal vehicle operation. These numbers are staggering. They are our friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters, and they are dying needlessly on the roads of Minnesota. These numbers should cause us to take a look at the dangers of drinking and riding.
There is a risk we all take by motorcycling, but there are ways to reduce that risk. Don’t drink and motorcycle. As advocates for motorcycling, Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly wants you to get the maximum freedom from your bikes, but you must realize that you must exercise this freedom responsibly.