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Riders & Beer: The Limits Of Freedom For Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa Motorcyclists

Motorcycling is fun and, ever since Easy Rider, the embodiment of freedom. Swerving past frustrated motorists in their cages, or riding among brothers in the splendor of surrounding mountains, riders rightfully enjoy themselves.

But freedom comes at a price. And for motorcyclists it is a steep one. Motorcycle accidents in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa often result in terrible injuries and death, because riders are so vulnerable, both in single-vehicle accidents and in crashes against other vehicles.

Experienced and smart riders know this, drive defensively and remain in complete control of their machine at all times. That's how you make the fun last much longer.

The problem arises when riders having fun stop at the next watering hole for a couple of beers before resuming their ride. This is where they lose control, and it happens very quickly.

Does alcohol affect riders differently than other vehicle drivers?

The answer is yes. Numerous studies - by the NHTSA and in Florida, Kentucky and Australia -have shown and confirmed that for motorcyclists:

  • One-fourth of all fatal alcohol-related motorcycle crashes involve riders running off the road, overturning or falling from the motorcycle rather than striking another object;
  • 46 percent of all motorcyclists killed in crashes had been drinking alcohol;
  • Having any alcohol in one's body increases the chances of crashing five times;
  • Having a BAC greater than 0.05 percent increases the risk of crashing about forty-fold.


Riding on just two wheels, motorcyclists are kept upright by the inertia of speed and the balancing act of the body. Alcohol affects the sense of balance very quickly, which is not immediately felt by a car driver installed in a comfortable seat, but could spell disaster for a rider having to make an emergency maneuver.

Riding a motorcycle is also entirely dependent on the subtle, split-second, smooth and firm handling and balancing of front and rear brakes, throttle, gears and steering. A 1/8th inch downward movement of the wrist is enough to thrust the bike quickly forward, deadly when you are entering a curve and should be slowing down. Alcohol just doesn't mix with the high-precision work of motorcycle riding.

Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa riders: enjoy the ride, remain in control, and wait until you have arrived before you head for the bar.

Hupy & Abraham, S.C. has offices in Milwaukee, Madison, and Appleton in Wisconsin; Gurnee and Bloomington in Illinois; and Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and Quad Cities in Iowa. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, contact Hupy & Abraham today at 800-800-5676 (toll-free) or 414-223-4800 (local) for a free evaluation of your case, or send us an e-mail with your questions.