The New Drunk Driving Danger That Doesn't Involve a Steering Wheel
People who get behind the wheel after having one too many has long been on our radar of danger. Now, it seems, we should also be worrying about people who get behind handlebars, aka drunk biking.
A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association finds that the number of bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes has climbed 16% in two years. Disturbing, yes, but what's shocking is that 28% of the 722 bikers who died between 2010 and 2012 were legally drunk at the time of their accident.
The highest number of biker fatalities took place in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan, and Texas.
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As much as people put themselves in danger when they have one too many and hop on a bike, as with drunk driving they risk other people's safety, too. Yes, someone crossing the street who gets hit by a hammered biker is a lot less likely to die than if he got slammed by a 4,000-pound car, but as anyone who's ever been injured in a bike crash knows, it can cause major—and long-term—injury. There's a reason bicyclists in many states are subject to DUI laws; they may also face charges of disorderly conduct or reckless endangerment.
Working in New York City, I've often had to step lively to avoid getting sideswiped by people unsteadily riding those ubiquitous Citi Bikes (this city's bike sharing system). It's scary to even think about any of them steering under the influence, but it's increasingly a reality, as reported by The New York Times. Post-cocktail joy rides have been trending for a while, and some bar crawlers rely on Citi Bikes as a cheaper alternative to a cab after a night out partying.
As much as drunk biking may seem like the lesser of two evils, it's still an evil—and people who do it are endangering themselves and those who cross their paths. Don't drink and bike, people.
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