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While one in six deaths on our roads are caused by drivers over the legal alcohol limit, motorcyclists are half as likely as other motorists to take the risk of drinking before riding, according to the MCI, marking the start of Road Safety Week 2009 (1).

The latest analysis of drink-drive statistics show that in 2008, of the motorcycle riders tested following an accident, 1.4 per cent failed a breathalyser test compared to an average of 2.7 per cent for all road user casualties as a whole (2).

The MCI is supporting Road Safety Week 2009's call to all road users to commit to not drink even a drop of alcohol before driving, nor consume any other illegal drug, to help reduce the number of accidents and casualties on British roads.

For road users as a whole, the group most likely to drink and drive were those under 17, with 11.8 per cent of young people in this age band failing the test. Only 1.2 per cent of these positive tests were given by young motorcyclists.

Motorcyclists aged between 20 and 24 were most likely to fail a breath test, with 2.4 per cent of tests taken by riders in this age band positive for alcohol. However, this figure is still less than half that of the average for all road users between 20 and 24, of whom 5 per cent gave a breath test positive for alcohol.

In 2007, at least 15,935 people in the UK were killed or hurt by drink and drug-drivers. That's: 1,328 people every month, 306 people every week, 44 people every day, 2 people every hour.

In 2007, 478 people were killed by drivers over the drink-drive limit in the UK. Women are much less likely than men to cause drink drive crashes. However, nearly a third of the casualties in drink drive crashes are women; often passengers in cars driven by young men.Nearly one in six convicted drink-drivers are caught the morning after.

The MCI advises:

* Never drink any amount of alcohol if you're riding. You don't have to be over the limit for your skills to be impaired.

* Never drink late at night if you're riding early the next morning. If you get caught out later than you thought, take the bus or go pillion next morning.

* Don't let mates drink and ride.

* Don't hassle anyone into accepting a drink they don't want.

Sheila Rainger, MCI Director of Communications, said, "The demands of riding a motorcycle are greater than those of driving a car and it is good to see the majority of motorcyclists recognizing this fact by refusing to mix drinking and riding.

"However, there is no room for complacency. As vulnerable road users, motorcyclists need to stay sharp. The MCI is backing the Road Safety Week 2009 call to all riders to commit to 'not a drop, not a drag' before starting the engine, and as Christmas party season approaches, urging riders to be aware that alcohol can stay in your system well into the morning after."
2) DfT; Compendium of Motorcycling Statistics 2009
3) Other statistics supplied by Brake

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