The number of pedestrians and bicyclists involved in fatal alcohol-impaired accidents has remained consistently the same, even as the number of motorists involved in these accidents has dropped.
According to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the proportion of bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities linked to alcohol use, remained virtually unchanged between 1992 and 2011. The rate for fatally injured pedestrians with blood alcohol concentrations of above .08 was 39 % in 1992. In 2011, that rate had dropped to 37%. Among bicyclists, the percentage was approximately 26% in 1992, and had dropped to 25 % 20 years later.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers, intoxicated walking/bicycling may be as dangerous as driving a car under the influence of alcohol. Pedestrians who are walking under the influence of alcohol are much more likely to be involved in an accident, because they are more likely to engage in rash walking behaviors, like crossing against a light or crossing the road away from a crosswalk.
Similarly, bicyclists also exhibit dangerous bicycling patterns, when they are under the influence of alcohol. For instance, statistics seem to indicate that when bicyclists are riding in an intoxicated state, they are less likely to wear a helmet. Besides, riding under the influence of alcohol does impair a person’s judgment skills, and therefore, bicyclists may be less likely to successfully judge gaps in traffic while bicycling under the influence. Alcohol interferes with a person’s core abilities to make safe bicycling decisions.
Among pedestrians, young, males between the age of 21 and 49, were much more likely to be involved in alcohol-impaired accidents. Among bicyclists too, males were more likely than females to be impaired, and the rate of accidents was much higher at night.
Doug Horn is a Missouri accident lawyer dedicated to the representation of victims of car accidents across Missouri.