Summer is an ideal time to get out and enjoy a bike ride, but it is also a time when people consume more alcohol. Outdoor parties, barbecues and ball games all lend themselves to alcohol consumption. Cyclists, like everyone else on the road, have increased risk in situations involving alcohol.
Alcohol impairment contributes to cyclist crashes in two distinct ways. Both drivers and cycling enthusiasts should learn about how their drinking habits could cause a cycling wreck.
Impairment can affect a cyclist’s ability
At first glance, the idea of riding a bike home from a party or a bar rather than driving a car may seem smart. After all, you know that driving home is a mistake because you know you enjoyed several drinks. Biking may seem like a legal alternative to driving after having too much to drink.
However, it is illegal to bike while drunk on public roads, and, more importantly, drunk bicycling increases your risk of getting hurt. In research that surprises almost no one, analysts found that those who consume alcohol before biking were more likely to fall off of their bikes. Those who drink before biking are less likely to wear a helmet, which may partially explain why they had higher fatality rates and were more likely to need imaging tests following a crash with a vehicle.
Drunk cycling is dangerous, as impaired decision making and longer reaction times can be deadly for someone on a tiny bicycle sharing a road with four-wheeled vehicles.
Drunk drivers may not notice cyclists
Those who decide to drive after drinking can cause real harm to local cyclists. Alcohol impairment affects people in motor vehicles in multiple ways. It increases their chance of falling asleep at the wheel and makes it harder for them to react quickly to traffic conditions.
Alcohol can also increase someone’s distraction levels and make it harder for them to focus on the road around them. Drunk drivers may not notice the cyclist until it is too late, meaning that they can cause crashes even when the cyclist has followed all the laws and safety best practices.
Understanding how alcohol contributes to bicycle collisions can help those who regularly cycle day safer this summer.