Drunk Motorcycling Needs to be Addressed

Motorcycles are dangerous. There is nothing new in this statement. Anyone who has ever stepped onto a motorcycle has known that decision is far more dangerous than setting foot in a car, or bus, train, airplane or nearly any other type of transportation. Again, motorcycles are dangerous. We all know this.

But the dangers of riding a motorcycle are not as well understood. Of course, the obvious dangers are, well, obvious. There is less protection on all sides, so minor crashes can lead to serious damage. This is especially the case when riders don’t wear helmets. Without a helmet, bikers run a great risk of brain or spinal trauma, and of course, death. Motorcycles are also less easy to control since they are on two wheels. Stopping may take less space but again, an injury is more likely because bikes can fall over and the rider is left exposed.

The less well-addressed issue is the problem with motorcyclists driving under the influence of drink and drugs. This is a very real problem, and it leads to a large number of motorcycle accidents.

The reason this issue exists at all is at once, and once again, obvious on the surface with more complex and difficult problems underneath.

The obvious answer is that some drivers, no matter the vehicle, drive under the influence. Drunk driving is one of the primary causes of all accidents and all vehicle-related deaths. The fact motorcycles are not an exception to this problem is not surprising.

The deeper answer, though, comes from the culture of the motorcycle. Having an aura of rebellion and a devil-may-care attitude means that motorcyclists are more likely than other drivers to ignore common sense choices like drinking responsibly or finding another ride home when too much has been imbibed. The choice to ignore what is safe is intimately related to the choice to ride a motorcycle in the first place. Again, everyone who gets on a motorcycle knows that choice has exposed them to greater risk. The choice is often made not in spite of this but because of it.

To fix this problem, more needs to be done to address the culture of the motorcycle. Evidence, like tests done by motorcyclists to drive drunk, should be prominently shown either through commercials, motorcycle magazine advertisements or at the time when motorcycle licenses are given out. While it’s impossible to change how someone feels about any particular thing, raising awareness could at least mitigate some of the worse trends in the motorcycle community.

A more strict enforcement of laws could also go a long way to diminishing the chances the next motorcyclist will make the same decision.

While no one would want to take away that connection of rebellion, liberation, and freedom found in the aura of the motorcycle, some adjustments to the culture should be made for the betterment of the riders themselves.

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