Impaired Motorcyclists Do Not Go Unnoticed in CA
California has the highest number of registered motorcycles in the US, with approximately 820,000 registrations in 2018 and about 850,000 in 2019. In addition, an average of about 125,000 DUI arrests were made between 2017 and 2018, which includes motorcyclists. Given this information, it comes as no surprise that motorcycle DUIs are frequent in California and thus result in criminal charges, injuries and deaths.
Therefore, if you are a motorcyclist, it will benefit you to learn the 14 signs of impairment to best avoid an unwelcome encounter with the police. A DUI conviction can result in harsh fines, prison sentences and a criminal record, which could all be avoided if you are knowledgeable of the following motorcycle DUI indicators:
- Drifting During a Turn or Curve: Studies have shown that the most common indicator of DUI is poor handling of curves, such as when motorcyclists ride in a straight line along a curvy road.
- Dismount Troubles: To park and dismount a motorcycle, a person has to stop the bike at a safe place, turn off the engine and position the kickstand. From there, they must balance their weight on one foot while moving the other foot over the seat to dismount. These capabilities will be hindered by alcohol.
- Balancing Issues at a Stop: When a motorcyclist is stopped, they typically place one foot on the ground and put the other on the brake. Alcohol makes this task difficult because it interferes with coordination and balance.
- Turning Problems: The four problems below indicate impairment.
- Unsteady During Turn or Curve
- Late Braking During Turn
- Improper Lean Angle During Turn
- Erratic Movements During Turn
- Inattentive to Surroundings: Vigilance can be impaired with alcohol, resulting in inattentiveness and lack of concern. If an officer takes notice of a motorcyclist’s lack of vigilance, they may pull them over.
- Inappropriate or Unusual Behavior: These behaviors include holding an object in one hand while operating a motorcycle, carrying an open contained of alcohol, dropping something while riding, urinating on the side of the road, or otherwise acting disorderly.
- Weaving: A significant indicator of DUI for drivers, motorcyclists who weave within a lane or across lanes may be impaired.
- Erratic Movements While Going Straight: Erratic movements or sudden corrections while trying to ride in a straight lane are indicators of DUI.
- Operating without Lights at Night: Many people forget to turn their lights on while driving at night, and they get a traffic ticket as a result. Motorcyclists, however, may get a DUI charge if they operate without their lights on at night.
- Recklessness: Motorcyclists often ride faster than the speed of traffic, but there is a difference between speeding and recklessness. A motorcyclist who rides too fast for the conditions may be impaired.
- Following Too Closely: As known as “tailgating,” motorcyclists who are at an unsafe following distance could be deemed under the influence.
- Running a Stop Light or Sign: Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign could either mean you simply didn’t see it or are impaired
- Evasion: Evading or fleeing an officer is a common problem that gives officers reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed, will be committed or is being committed.
- Wrong Way: A strong indicator of impairment is when a motorcyclist rides into opposing traffic.