You probably know that smaller and less visible motorcyclists are at a greater risk for accidents when riding on the road than their passenger vehicle counterparts. However, you might be surprised to learn that of all the motorcyclists killed in fatal accidents in 2010, 28% had Blood Alcohol Concentrations (BACs) of .08 or higher. For the demographic of 40-44 year old riders, this number is even higher, soaring to 44%. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
Since 1997 motorcycle accident fatalities have been steadily rising, and alcohol-related deaths have risen commensurately. So why has this specific group of motorists seen such a visible spike in accidents recently? Well, The last time someone funded a truly comprehensive study of motorcycle accidents was more than 30 years ago when the Hurt Report was published, so the short answer is that nobody can really say for sure. All we do know is that the nature of motorcycling and what is means to be a motorcyclist has been in steady flux since 1981, and the nature of the two have experienced a significant change in the last three decades.
When expounding on this topic, the guys over at Motorcyclist, a consumer news outlet founded more than 100 years ago, explained their theories. “Back in ’81, the average age of a motorcyclist involved in an accident was 24. Now, it’s 38,” Said one writer. “The cruiser market, which was just getting started in the early ’80s, has been exploding for years. What do older guys-many of them new to motorcycling-on cruisers tend to do? …They all too often ride to a bar, have a few with their buddies and ride home. Which might mean more guys are riding and drinking more.” (Motorcyclist Online)
Drinking and driving is a problem across the board in the United States. Too many drinks can take away your focus, your reflexes, and your ability to guard yourself from taking risks, all of which can have disastrous results when on a motorcycle. Our lawyers know that while driving a motorcycle is very different than operating a passenger vehicle, riders can take some of the same safety steps to prevent drunk driving accidents from claiming lives.
When your social plans do involve alcohol, make sure to avoid driving after drinking. While you can’t always designate a driver in a group of bikers, you can be responsible for where you drink and knowing your limit, as well as being aware of how to handle having too many. It is always safer to leave your bike at the bar and pick it up the next morning than try to take your chances riding home. If you or a loved one has had too much to drink, watch out for yourselves and call a cab.
At Levin & Perconti, our motorcycle lawyers have more than 20 years of experience working with accident victims from the state of Illinois. If you think you might have a case, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.