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How does drinking affect motorcycle riders?

Many choose to ride motorcycles for the freedom and versatility they offer as compared to four-wheeled vehicles. Unfortunately, however, collisions involving motorcyclists and other autos occur all too often, commonly leaving riders with serious or fatal injuries. Such accidents happen due to numerous factors, including intoxication on the part of motorcyclists. 

According to the National Safety Council, alcohol impairment played a part in 28% of motorcycle crash deaths for riders in 2017. To help ensure their safety, motorcyclists should refrain from drinking alcohol before riding. 

The effects of alcohol on the body

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motorcycling while intoxicated may increase people’s risk of crashing and suffering serious injuries or death. The potential effects experienced by people when drinking may contribute to this increased danger. Some of the most common effects of alcohol on the body include the following: 

  • Loss of judgment 
  • Lowered alertness 
  • Released inhibitions 
  • Difficulty detecting danger 
  • Reduced muscle control and coordination 
  • Slowed reaction times 

At higher blood alcohol concentration levels, people may experience vomiting, substantial loss of balance and significantly decreased muscle control. These and other effects may begin to develop after as few as two drinks and typically worsen as people consume more alcohol. 

The effects of alcohol on riding

The various effects experienced due to alcohol consumption may significantly impair people’s ability to control their vehicles, including motorcycles. As these effects develop and worsen, they may affect riders’ abilities, such as reducing their signal detection, visual search and ability to track moving objects. The effects of alcohol on the body may also impair motorcyclists’ ability to steer, their speed control, their abilities to maintain lane position and vehicle control, and their braking competency. 

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