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Impaired motorcyclists a threat to other riders

Statistically, motorcyclists face greater danger from other vehicles than they pose to others, but a drunken motorcyclist is a danger to all on the road. Below are some probable indicators that a biker may be impaired while riding.

-- Problems balancing the bike at stop signs and red lights. Whether they put one foot down and keep the other on the brake or use both feet to keep the bike upright during stops, wobbling can indicate impairment.

-- Problems while attempting to turn. Failing to negotiate a curve is a major cause of fatal motorcycle accidents when no other vehicles are involved. Sometimes impaired drivers simply go straight until impact, but other times their turn radius widens during the attempt. The bike drifts into other lanes or over on the shoulder.

-- Problems dismounting the motorcycle. While there can be numerous reasons a biker has trouble dismounting the bike, e.g., injuries or disabilities, it can also be a strong indication of impairment.

-- Inattention to their surroundings. Almost everyone gets caught woolgathering from time to time at a traffic light, but motorcyclists tend to pay even closer attention to what's going on around them than drivers because of their vulnerability to injury. A biker who sits through a changing light or who lingers too long at a stop sign may be impaired.

Motorcycle enthusiasts frequently like to ride together in convivial groups. But just one impaired rider in the group poses enormous risks to the entire group. If you are riding together and suspect a fellow motorcycle rider is impaired, give him or her a wide berth.

If you are injured in a motorcycle crash in Los Angeles due to another impaired rider, it may be possible to sue him or her for damages regardless of whether or not the motorcyclist was ever arrested for driving while impaired.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "The Detection of DWI Motorcyclists," accessed Feb. 05, 201

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