Drugs can affect the ability to ride safely, and it is difficult to know when the effects are gone. Drugs like many over-the-counter and prescription drugs, as well as illegal drugs, have effects that increase risk. They can have depressing effects or stimulating effects.
Depressing drugs slow down mental and physical processes.
Stimulating drugs can be harmful because they can lead to aggressive riding, and the effects can wear off suddenly and result in extreme fatigue. Combining alcohol and drugs compounds the effects.
Marijuana is gaining acceptance as having legitimate medicinal applications and as a recreational drug in the United States, as evidenced by recent trends in state laws permitting its use. As of January 2016, 23 states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana for medical use, and four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) plus DC allow it for recreational use by adults 21 and over.
Although marijuana may be legal for medicinal or recreational use in one’s state, it is still not legal, safe, or wise to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by marijuana, since it tends to distort perception of time, space, and speed. This is especially true for motorcycle riders, who must continually make detailed assessments of complex traffic situations and make split-second decisions requiring precise rider input to navigate safely and maintain an adequate safety margin.
Intervention is an attempt to stop someone from doing something dangerous. A group of riders can intervene to keep an impaired rider from getting on a motorcycle. It may be difficult, but the payoff can be life-saving.
Here are some tips to help keep someone from riding after drinking:
- Enlist others to help.
- Call for a cab or other transportation for the impaired rider.
- Slow the pace of drinking.
- Delay departure.
- Provide alcohol-free drinks and food.
- Keep the motorcycle parked and secure it so the rider won’t worry.
- If the rider cannot be stopped, consider hiding the keys.