A commenter raised some questions about our (Bikers) use of alcohol and got me to wondering how often do we see a serious discussion of this issue among bikers (other than lip service)? We raise Holy Hell about the drunks that run over us, but what about our own use? The other question is, how come we do not not see this issue addressed as emphatically as we might argue, say a helmet law? Huh? Can you hear me now? Why do I feel like I'm going to be pissing in the wind here?
O.K. I know some who will accuse me of Blasphemy (many who profess to be motorcycle safety advocates) to even hint that we might should do this. What can I say, “guilty”.
To preface the following it needs to be stated that to go into a complete and comprehensive discussion of this issue would take more pages than most will read (primarily because it doesn't apply to anyone out there does it? Read it anyway, it might apply to a “Bro” and you can save his/her life). The other thing to consider is that there are many variables affecting the info provided here and professionals make a living arguing over many of them. There is one certainty: Alcohol and driving (whatever you drive) kills!
The first thing you need to know (well maybe not you, but someone you care about). Throw all those, how much can I drink and still be legal calculators away (you can google a slew of them). There are to many variable that must be factored in to make them accurate AND you can be charged with D.U.I. at a b.a.c. level less than .08 (legal limit in all states including Florida). Why is .08 the magic number by which you are deemed to drunk to drive? Because chances are you are to drunk to drive at a lower level but the police know that .08 is going to pass any medical or legal test.
Consider the following: The risk of being in a crash begins to rise between .04% and .05% BAC, and increases rapidly thereafter. By the time a driver reaches a BAC of .06% he or she is twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as a non- drinking driver.
So as you can see (I hope, your vision ain't blurred is it?) at less than the legal limit your significantly at risk to be riding with the Angels (we don't be talkin bout Hells Angels either. But then hey, who knows...............)
Additional alcohol increases the chance of a fatal crash even more. A driver with a BAC of .10% to .14% is about 50 times as likely to be in a fatal crash as a non-drinking driver. The rate goes up as the BAC rises. http://www.minnesotansforsafedriving.com/drop.htm
The following I thought was at least a good average (o.k. but remember, don't count on it)
“Many factors affect an individual's absorption of alcohol. These include weight, sex (a higher proportion of a woman's body weight is in fat and fat absorbs less alcohol than muscle tissue), amount of food in the digestive track, and time spent drinking (and the corresponding rate of elimination).
BAC levels and the number of "typical" drinks required to reach them can be roughly estimated. After 4 drinks in one hour, a male of 160 pounds will reach a BAC of .07% and a female of 120 pounds will reach a BAC of .08%. The following is a breakdown of skill set vs blood alcohol levels” http://www.minnesotansforsafedriving.com/drop.htm
(Sorry ladies, it is true, men handle alcohol better. The upside however is that women, for pretty much the same reasons, handle tattoos much better than men. Ya ever see a 6' 200 pounder cry, moan or pass out) from a tatt while a 100 pound lady naps through it? So don't let the dudes rag ya.)
Ok but heres the gig. When people read this stuff they go like, “well damn that means I can drink 4 beers an hour. “ Oh no no no no my friend. See you gots to get rid of that “poison” (thats what alcohol is, a poison. Why do you think you feel like garbage the next day? Cause ya “poisoned” yourself and your body is pissed. Puking just means you OD'ed). And unfortunately you can't get it out as fast as you take it in. I don't care how many trips you make the bathroom o.k.
“The liver is able to oxidize approximately one-quarter ounce of absolute alcohol per hour. In other words, the body is able to eliminate approximately half the alcohol in a drink in one hour and the total alcohol in one drink in two hours. If you consume only one drink, your BAC would be zero percent in about two hours.”
The following is provided, not to be relied on, but as an illustration to make point:
.04-.06 b.a.c. (Blood Alcohol Content) Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, sensation of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of reasoning and memory, lowering of caution. Your behavior may become exaggerated and emotions intensified (Good emotions are better, bad emotions are worse)
.07-.09 Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Euphoria. Judgment and self-control are reduced, and caution, reason and memory are impaired (in some* states .08 is legally impaired and it is illegal to drive at this level). You will probably believe that you are functioning better than you really are. NOTE: This means you probably think you can drive just fine.
.20 Feeling dazed/confused or otherwise disoriented. May need help to stand/walk. If you injure yourself you may not feel the pain. Some people have nausea and vomiting at this level. The gag reflex is impaired and you can choke if you do vomit. Blackouts are likely at this level so you may not remember what has happened.
Note: this is the level that if busted you may find the court saying “Automatic Treatment”. Why might they say that you may ask (or not)? Well they say that because most “Social Drinkers” either can not get to the car to drive it or are passed out at that level. However there is this little thing called “Tolerance”. Now some of us are lucky enough (it's matter of perspective) to be born with tolerance. Others have to work for it. But “most” will never achieve it. See, and there are some who probably ain't read this far that should have, but just in case they have, the assumption of most professionals (God I hate that word) is that if you can function fine at a .20 you are an (ok don't faint now, grab a beer relax) an “Alcoholic”. Yepper, I can hear the resounding chorus of “Bullshits” now. But hey, facts is facts. I bet ya drive just fine with a cell phone too (my apologies I just had to throw that in there).
.35 Coma is possible. This is the level of surgical anesthesia. Note: Some jurisdictions recognize that this is a medical emergency and to avoid getting sued if you die in their jail will tote you straight to the hospital. Heres the kicker now. I have talked to a lady with a verified .35 (by blood test) who other than by the rosy bouquet emanating from her breath one would have been hard pressed to think she was drunk. Now that my friends is “Tolerance”.
.40 Onset of coma, and possible death due to respiratory arrest.
.50 Curtains: Another Note Saw a dude in the hospital once w/ a .57 raising hell. Only thing I can figure is there must have been enough “speed” in the “acid” he took to keep the alcohol from killing him. http://www.ou.edu/oupd/bac.htm
See the problem w/ some of us that drink (or drank) a lot is that we have a tendency to violate the statistics, the evidence, the facts. And that is a problem isn't it. But this tolerance thing, though I have seen no statistical study to demonstrate it, I would bet is higher in the MC “biker” population than some others. Asians don't have it. Native American Indians don't have it and neither do Eskimos. Irish, Germans and the Scots however...........well, what can I say, I'm Irish.
Now this Tolerance gig can lead to way more pages than people are going to read. But suffice it to say
you add alcohol to the numbers of new riders on the road and then add to that the numbers of cell phone intoxicated drivers and we got a real killing fields. Cell phones is probably going to take awhile to address, but we can look out for our brothers and sisters if the word “BROTHER” is to mean anything. So if you got a “bro” that you know shouldn't be driving/riding and you don't want to fight them for the keys, have somebody distract them, yank his plug wires and throw em in the bushes.
Are we our Brothers Keeper or not (to those that may think they are bikers keep this in mind, most 1% clubs won't keep you around if your a “drunk”. It's to damn dangerous) ???
If anyone has any questions re this subject feel free to e-mail me and we will talk privately.
Don't cheat yourself out of the miles left to Ride........rcAdd to Technorati Favorites