So it was brought to my attention that the July issue (#131) was the 15th anniversary of Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly. After finding this out, I decided to see what had been written in that first “From The Hip” column and look at it’s relevance. The July, 1996 column was all about announcing the new paper, letting everyone know what it was going to be about and what the goals and dreams were of this fabulous publication. While I believe MMM® has accomplished a lot of those things, it didn’t seem that it would be all that interesting to rehash it 15 years later.
The Hip column from August of 1996 was far more interesting. It was about the dangers of driving while impaired. I’m sad to say it would appear that driving a motorcycle while intoxicated is still killing way too many people. In 1995, there were 25 deaths due to motorcycle accidents in Minnesota. Thirteen of those people had a blood alcohol level above 0.10% which was the legal limit back then. In 2010, there were 45 deaths due to motorcycle accidents and 17 of those were alcohol-related. Percentage-wise we’re doing better than we did 15 years ago but we still have four more dead people due to impaired driving than we did in 1995.
I don’t drink, so driving while impaired is never an issue for me. I also do everything I can to avoid riding with people who are going to be drinking. What I have no control over is other people on the road who have been drinking and have decided that driving their car or motorcycle is going to be just fine. I pay very close attention to other drivers who appear to be impaired. These are the folks who drive under or way over the speed limit, react slowly to turns in the road and the traffic around them, over-brake, hug the fog line and the obvious weaving all over the place. What scares me is these drivers are out there any time of day or night. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood you’re in, if you’re on a residential street or a freeway, they’re out there driving around.
I lost a close friend in high school in an alcohol-related car crash, as well as a few other aquaintenances through the years, so I have some strong opinions on driving while impaired. I think you should lose your privilege to drive, ever again, after your second DWI. I don’t think it’s anyone’s right to drive. I think it’s a privilege that we earn. I have made phone calls while out on the road to report impaired drivers and I won’t hesitate to take away a drunk’s keys. I’ve also acted as a designated driver and I will happily give someone a ride home who has had too much to drink. I don’t have a problem with people drinking; just please don’t operate a motor vehicle while impaired.
The photograph at the top was taken in Daytona this year. I find it absolutely ridiculous and somewhat irresponsible to promote alcohol with a motorcycle. Our society doesn’t need any help putting more drunk drivers on the road.
So it’s been 15 years of trying to print for you things you will find interesting and relevant. We hope that we have been doing just that. If we have, let us know. If we haven’t, let us know. At the very least, we have found that this paper will soak up oil like a sponge.