Alcohol-related Deaths Among Bicyclists

bicycleIn many cities, especially in beachfront communities like Newport Beach, a number of people consuming alcohol will ride their bicycle to avoid getting a DUI. While this choice of transportation may be safer for the community than driving drunk, it is still illegal and extremely dangerous for the rider. People who have already got DUI’s will often turn to their bicycle because they have lost their drivers license. Unfortunately, while the DUI may stop them from driving drunk, it does not stop them from riding drunk.

In fact, a new report has found that more than one-fourth of fatally injured bicyclists ages 16 and older had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least .08 percent, according to CBS News. The Governors Highway Safety Association’s report found bicycle deaths rose 16 percent between 2010 and 2012, while the number of drivers killed increased 1 percent.

“The percentage of fatally injured bicyclists with high BACs has remained relatively constant since the early 1980s and did not mirror the sharp drop in alcohol-impaired driving that occurred among passenger vehicle drivers in the 1980s and early 1990s,” the report’s author, Dr. Allan Williams, said in a news release.

In 2012, at least two-thirds of bicycle fatalities involved riders not wearing helmets and more than a quarter (28 percent) of riders age 16 and older had blood alcohol concentrations of at least .08 percent, according to the report. The majority of bicyclists killed (69 percent) were riding in urban locations.

Six states represented more than half (54 percent) of all bicycle fatalities:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • Michigan

“These are high population states with many urban centers and likely reflect a high level of bicycle exposure and interaction with motor vehicles,” Williams said.