I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 17-years-old. It’s a rite of passage for young men growing up a few miles away from the Harley-Davidson headquarters in Milwaukee! While riding motorcycles can be one of life’s great enjoyments, it can also be one of life’s most dangerous hobbies. An experienced, smart driver is meticulous about the maintenance of their bike, always wears protective gear (helmet, jacket, boots, etc.), pays close attention to other drivers, and never puts himself/herself in a situation where their safety could be compromised.
Even as a young rider, I always found the culture of drinking associated with motorcycles disturbing. It went directly against everything I had learned about biker safety. Motorcycle dealers, riding clubs and bar sponsored poker runs (card drinking games) can be found without a great level of difficulty every weekend during the riding season—even charity events. Go to any motorcycle rally, music concert, summer festival, local community fair or sporting event, and without fail, motorcycles will be parked front and center. Don’t take my word for it, simply visit any bar or restaurant during the riding season. Drinking and motorcycle riding goes hand and hand.
The truth of the matter is that just under half (46 percent) of riders killed in accidents, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), have alcohol in their system at the time of their death. That is an astonishing statistic. Since riding a motorcycle takes every bit of your concentration and reflex to act quickly, even one drink can slow you down and put you at risk. The MSF also estimates that even the least amount of alcohol increases a rider’s chance of crashing five times. And, a (still potentially legal) Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over 0.05 percent increases chances to crash 40 fold.
Sadly, many of the motorcyclists sitting at these bars or drinking socially at events are not alone. These “drinking buddies” are their passengers and other cyclists they will be sharing the lane with in the hours ahead—creating an even more dangerous situation. You read about these types of accidents routinely in the news. They have become common place.
While not every motorcycle accident can be prevented, it’s a matter of fact that many could be if motorcycle drivers put the same type of pride and care into their own well-being as they do with their motorcycles.
If you drive a motorcycle, the very last place you should be is at a bar. And if you have a drink, keep it parked. Passengers, never get on the back of a motorcycle if the driver has been drinking. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you wouldn’t allow your doctor to perform your surgery or a pilot to fly you to your vacation destination if they had been drinking. Don’t allow a person operating a two wheel vehicle at a high rate of speed if they have been consuming alcohol. It could very well cost you your life, or a life filled with pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident through no fault of your own in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. We will provide a free consultation, review your case and help you to understand your options.