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Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys

Riding High: Why Marijuana and Motorcycles Can Be a Deadly Combination

You insisted that the motorcyclist who ran into you undergo a Breathalyzer. He was weaving in and out of lanes, pulled right out in front of you, and was even swaying back and forth by the side of the road after the crash. When the officer said he wasn’t drunk, you couldn’t believe it. Why else would he be taking such risks on the road if he wasn’t under the influence?

Marijuana Laws Apply to Both Motorcycles and Cars

The truth is that the biker could very well have been under the influence—just not the influence of alcohol. Even though marijuana remains illegal in most states, drivers and motorcyclists may not think twice about jumping on their vehicles after consuming the drug. This can be especially deadly for bikers, for a number of reasons:

  • Lack of protection. High drivers have the protection of a steel cage, airbags, crumple zones, and numerous layers of high-tech safety in the event of a crash. If a biker under the influence loses control of his motorcycle, his clothes are the only layer of protection he has.
  • Balance. While marijuana affects all people differently, it has been shown to reduce response times, dull senses, and impair mental focus and motor coordination. Unlike drivers, motorcyclists use their entire bodies to steer their vehicles, and a momentary lack of balance can cause permanent effects.
  • Vision problems. Marijuana has been shown to decrease a user’s peripheral vision and make the eyes red and irritated, making it more likely that he will be unable to see objects in the road before it is too late.
  • Mental effects. Brain imaging studies have shown that marijuana users require more use of their brains to perform even the simplest tasks. In addition, users were shown to be less able to multi-task and calculate risk while high, leading to reckless behavior without the ability to make sudden corrections.

Unfortunately, there is no reliable roadside test for marijuana consumption, so bikers who ride high must submit to a urine or blood test after a crash in order to be prosecuted. Even then, marijuana can remain in a person’s bloodstream for weeks after they last used the drug, so a blood test may not accurately reflect a rider’s level of impairment.

The best way to find out what really happened on the night of your accident is to have the incident investigated by an experienced injury attorney. If you were hurt so badly that you cannot gather evidence on your own behalf, click the contact link on this page to tell us your story, and we can begin working for you immediately.

 

James Roswold
James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.

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