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Alcohol and motorcycles do not mix

Riding motorcycles is a fun hobby to pursue. However, motorcycle enthusiasts should never consume alcohol or other intoxicants when they plan to ride. Below are some facts related to motorcycles and alcohol consumption.

Did you know that with a blood alcohol content of just .01 to.04 percent, judgment is adversely affected? Drinkers become less critical of their actions, more mentally relaxed and have a lowered reaction time.

When the BAC is only .05 to .07 percent, drinkers no longer have sound reasoning, thinking or judgment. Their abilities to perform complex skills decrease as well.

By the time people reach the legal stage of intoxication at .08 percent BAC, their reasoning and judgment have been seriously altered along with the ability to complete basic tasks correctly.

For those on motorcycles, having any level of alcohol in their bloodstream increases the risk of wrecking five-fold. Those with a BAC of .05 percent -- still not considered legally too drunk to drive -- increases the risk of collisions by nearly 40 times. Nearly half of all motorcyclists killed in accidents had consumed alcohol. A full quarter of all fatalities involving alcohol and motorcycles resulted from riders turning their bikes over, falling off the motorcycle or running off of the road instead of hitting something else.

One way to think of the danger of alcohol combined with two-wheeled cycles is "SEE." The acronym stands for the following:

-- Search for potentially troublesome hazards.

-- Evaluate the ways those hazards could interact to make risks and quickly prioritize which hazard to handle first.

-- Execute the action necessary for maintaining a safety margin.

After consuming alcohol, a rider's vision is impaired, affecting their ability to search for hazards. Their skewed judgment lessens their evaluation of dangers, and their slowed coordination jeopardizes their execution of evasive actions.

This list is not all-inclusive. Many more hazards await those who choose to drink and climb aboard their motorcycles.

Not only can impaired cyclists hurt themselves, but they can contribute to accidents and the serious injuries of others. Those injured by careless motorcyclists may wish to file a civil claim for damages.

Source: Motorcycle Safety Foundation, "The Importance of Riding Unimpaired by Alcohol or Other Drugs," accessed May. 01, 2015

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