Drunk driving on the rise for motorcyclists

by Tim O’Hare

While the dangers and potential consequences of drunk driving are continually in the public spotlight, the increased dangers of driving a motorcycle while impaired by alcohol aren’t as well known, although impaired driving-related motorcycle fatalities have significantly increased in the last few years.

A 2007 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents are 2.5 times more likely to have consumed alcohol prior to riding than other motor vehicle drivers.

It is not uncommon for motorcyclists to “bar hop” on their bikes. Additionally, motorcycle rallies may encourage drinking before hitting the road. Accident fatalities are far higher for motorcyclists than other motorists, and drinking and driving only increases the risk of serious injury or death to motorcyclists.

Some motorcyclists admit to drinking and riding, as it makes riding more “fun,” and loosens them up before hopping on their bike. The reality is, even one drink before riding could significantly impair a motorcyclist’s driving ability. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation suggests that even the slightest bit of alcohol could increase a motorcyclist’s chances of crashing by five times.

Many would argue that the 0.08 blood alcohol legal limit is too high, as a BAC as high as 0.05 can increase any driver’s risk of crashing, not just motorcyclists, by more than forty times. The risk of accidents and fatalities resulting from drunk driving are even greater on weekends and at night. In 2007, 57% of motorcyclists who were killed in drunk driving crashes were killed in accidents that took place on the weekend, many of them between 6 and 9 p.m.

While riding motorcycles can be thrilling, the extra “thrill” of drinking and riding is not worth the risk of losing your life. Think twice before hopping on your bike after a night out. Safe motorcycling requires a rider’s full attention and focus. Any distraction from that is life-threatening.

If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in a motorcycle accident, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare and ask to speak with Tim O’Hare, the Dallas personal injury attorney who has been riding motorcycles for most of his adult life.  Currently, Mr. O’Hare rides a 2009 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic.  Hiring a lawyer who also rides to handle your motorcycle case is the right choice.  Call us today at 972-960-0000, or toll-free at 1-888-960-0020.