Television advertisements, radio campaigns, school banners, and car bumper stickers have all been plastered with the “don’t drink and drive” message to encourage drivers to think twice about getting behind the wheel if you have had a few too many. While prevention campaigns serve a needed purpose by discouraging driving under the influence when operating a car or motorcycle, they have a tendency to underemphasize or entirely overlook the need to take the same precautions when riding a bicycle.
Biking Risks and Complications of Riding Intoxicated
Bicycling like any form of transportation carries risks. In the United States, approximately two people die every single day from a bicycle accident.1 According to trends analyzed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those who are most susceptible to injury from a biking accident are males, located in urban areas, traveling between 6 and 9 at night, who come into contact with a motorized vehicle, and are somehow at risk due to alcohol consumption by either the driver of the car or the bicyclist themselves.2 The problem with drunk biking is that even though state laws, which prohibit operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated probably will not be extended to bicycling, risks exist outside of the legal repercussions of getting a DUI.3
In the event of a collision between a drunk cyclist and a car or other vehicle, the cyclist is at an increased risk for injury, because of the lack of protection due to the absence of air bags or seatbelts and the share imbalance of weight, force, and power between cars and bicycles. If you are intoxicated while riding, you are more likely to not wear a helmet or other reflective gear, to be riding at night in a low visibility situation, to have decreased stability increasing the chances for a fall, or be riding in a state of confusion that reduces the adherence to safety precautions needed to cross intersections or remain on the sidewalk or bicycle lane.4
The overall risk of intoxicated bicycling is linked to the fact that alcohol acts as a depressant on the central nervous system which slows the function of the brain by creating issues such as hazy thinking, slowed reaction time, dulled hearing, impaired vision, weakened muscles, or foggy memory.5 These different symptoms increase the risk for a bicycle accident, because the cyclist does not have the decisive and clear ability to respond to the changing environments or avoid road hazards.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you have been involved in an auto accident caused by an intoxicated bicyclist, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.