MAY SAFETY ARTICLE
The Importance of Riding Unimpaired by Alcohol or Other Drugs
Hello fellow Blue Knights DE1 members. I know I’ve talked about this before in a safety article, but I thought it was important to mention it again now that summer is right around the corner. I wanted to take a minute and go over the importance of riding unimpaired and note some quick tips. I know it’s sometimes hard to resist the temptation to stop somewhere for a cold beer with friends when we finally get back out riding after a long winter. You see it all the time; motorcycles parked outside bars and taverns. I always hope that these riders will make it home safe and sound to their family members. Please take a moment to read and digest the below quick tips. The one that should really catch your eye is the fact that 46% of all motorcyclists killed in crashes were drinking alcohol. Remember, these tips also apply when driving your four-wheel automobiles. Thanks for taking the time to read these quick tips.
I frequently here people ask, “Well, how many drinks does it take to make my
BAC .08?” Is it one, two or three or more drinks? I can’t tell you that. We are all different. How quickly it takes for you to reach the legal limit depends on your age, height, weight, metabolism, how much you had to eat and of course how fast you are consuming drinks. Other factors also come into play, but these are the main ones. I advocate not drinking alcohol at all when riding or driving, but if you do, I would suggest limiting it to one drink an hour, and that doesn’t count a Long Island Ice Tea or a 36 ounce bottle of beer as one drink. I’ve noted below what constitutes one drink. Please just don’t drink and ride or drive. That way you don’t have to worry about not having all your senses about you or being pulled over by the police.
Theory: Alcohol and Motorcycles are Incompatible
• At a BAC, Blood Alcohol Concentration, of 0.01 to 0.04%, judgment begins to lessen, the drinker is less critical of their own actions, reaction time is slowed, and indications of mental relaxation may appear.
• At a BAC of 0.05 to 0.07%, judgment is not sound, thinking and reasoning powers are not clear, and the ability to perform complex skills is lessened.
• At a BAC of 0.08% or above, judgment and reasoning powers are severely hampered, and the individual cannot complete common simple tasks without error.
Proof: Statistics from Recent Studies (by NHTSA, Florida, Kentucky, and
Australia) These are pretty sobering statistics!!!!!
• Having any alcohol in one’s body increases the chance of crashing by five times.
• Having a BAC greater than 0.05% increases the risk of crashing about forty-fold.
• 46 percent of all motorcyclists killed in crashes were using alcohol.
• One fourth of all fatal alcohol-related motorcycle crashes involve motorcyclists running off the road, overturning, or falling from the motorcycle rather than striking another object.
Explanation: Alcohol Affects Your Ability to “SEE”
SEE is the acronym for MSF’s strategy to help motorcycle riders maintain a safety margin as well as remain ready and able to respond properly to traffic situations. SEE stands for:
• Search for hazards that might lead to trouble.
• Evaluate how the hazards might interact to create risk; prioritize multiple hazards to deal with one at a time.
• Execute an action to maintain a margin of safety.
Alcohol affects these three human elements of safe motorcycle operation by impairing your vision (Search), judgment/decision-making ability (Evaluate), and coordination/reaction time (Execute).
Recommendation: Plan Ahead
• Riders should never mix alcohol with riding. Even low, legal limits of BAC increase your risk while riding a motorcycle.
• Riders who are away from home and decide to drink should either (1) wait until their BAC has returned to zero before riding, even if it means staying overnight, or (2) leave the motorcycle in a secure location and find alternate transportation home.
Remember, the only thing that removes alcohol from your blood is Time! It takes at least one hour for each drink to be eliminated. One drink equals:
One 12 ounce bottle/glass of Beer
One 5 ounce glass of Wine
One shot, 1.5 ounces of 80 proof Liquor
And don’t forget about some prescription and non-prescription medications that can affect your ability to safely operate a motorcycle or four wheel vehicle especially when taken with alcohol.
Ride Safe, Ride Smart and Enjoy the Ride Alcohol Free!!!
Bruce Taylor / Safety Officer / Blue Knights DE May 16, 2018