Ride into the Danger Zone…

Motorcycle vs. passenger vehicle death chart

It’s a dangerous sport we’ve embraced, folks.  Indeed, looking at this graph, it’s hard to make any other conclusion. Motorcycle fatalities per passenger mile are 37 times higher for motorcycles than for cars.

What irks me about this report, though, is that we, as a community, don’t seem to be making it much safer.  Sure, there are cars that turn in front of us, or change lanes into us…I get it. In fact, my last crash was a guy that T-boned me after running a stop sign.

But I notice two salient facts from this report.

22% of motorcyclists that died in 2009 did not have a valid license.

If you’re riding without a license, there’s a couple of things that could be going on. You can’t ride well enough to pass the test. You don’t want to be inconvenienced with getting a license. But, I presume a significant portion of those people without licenses don’t have them because they got taken away after getting caught doing something stupid.  That doesn’t stop them, because…well…they’re stupid and/or reckless, and the odds caught up with them.

30% of fatal motorcycle crashes involved a driver with a BAC greater than .08.

Speaking of stupid and reckless.  If you tie one on and get on a bike, then you’re just a moron.

Overall, those two numbers tell us that somewhere between 30% and 52% of all motorcycle fatalities are stupidity-related. Frankly, I don’t have any sympathy for these people.  Good riddance.

Not only do they kill themselves, and cause their families pain, they make those of us who have licenses and don’t drink and ride look bad.

Just not drinking and riding would lower motorcycle fatalities by 30%. Maybe that would help stop other morons from arguing that motorcycles should be banned.

This Can’t Be Good…

The National Highway Transportation Safety Board has just released a survey on drunk/drugged driving in the US.  Overall, the numbers look pretty good.  The number of people driving under the influence continues to decline.

A new roadside survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms a continuing decline in the percentage of legally intoxicated drivers

In 1973, 7.5 percent of drivers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In the latest survey, that figure had fallen to 2.2 percent. A BAC of .08 or higher is now above the legal limit in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

But, as it often is, the devil is in the details.  Motorcyclists are the most likely set of drivers to be operating their vehicles while under the influence.

Motorcycle riders were more than twice as likely as passenger vehicle drivers to be drunk (5.6 percent compared with 2.3 percent). Pickup truck drivers were the next most likely to have illegal BACs (3.3 percent).

I can’t even imagine the level of stupidity it takes to get on a motorcycle ofter knocking back a few. And the idea that more than 1 in 20 cyclists is tooling around with a buzz on is astounding.