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The Detection of DWI Motorcyclists

Inappropriate or Unusual Behavior
There is a category of cues referred to as “inappropriate or unusual behavior.” This category of cues includes behaviors such as operating a motorcycle while holding an object in one hand or under an arm, carrying an open container of alcohol, dropping something from a moving motorcycle, urinating at the roadside, arguing with another motorist, or otherwise being disorderly. If you observe inappropriate or unusual behavior by a motorcyclist, there is a better than average chance that the motorcyclist also is a DWI offender.

drawing of motorcyclist weaving on streetWeaving
You are probably familiar with weaving as a predictor of DWI. If you see an automobile weaving there is a better than average chance the driver has exceeded the legal alcohol limits, but if you observe a motorcycle to be weaving, the probability of DWI is even greater – weaving is an excellent cue. Weaving involves excessive movement within a lane or across lane lines, but does not include movements necessary to avoid road hazards.

drawing of motorocyclist weaving around parked car on streetErratic Movements While Going Straight
If you observe a motorcyclist making erratic movements or sudden corrections while attempting to ride in a straight line, study results indicated there is a good probability that the rider is a DWI violator. In fact, during the study erratic movements while going straight were observed 30 to 49 percent of the time in relation to impaired driving.

drawing on motorcyclist passing car at night - no lightsOperating without Lights at Night
Operating a motorcycle without lights at night is dangerous and can be another indicator of operator impairment. Study results showed that if you detect a motorcyclist riding at night without lights, there is a good chance that the operator is a DWI offender.



drawing of motorcyclist unsafely pulling out in front of trafficRecklessness
Motorcyclists tend to ride faster than automobiles so speeding is not necessarily a good predictor of DWI for motorcyclists. On the other hand, recklessness or riding too fast for the conditions was found to be a good indicator of operator impairment.



drawing of motorcyclist tailgating a carFollowing Too Closely
Following too closely, which is an unsafe following distance, is another indication of impaired operator judgment. During the study, this cue was found to be a good predictor of DWI by motorcycle riders.


drawing of motorcylcist running a stop sign in front of trafficRunning Stop Light or Sign
Failure to stop at a red light or stop sign can indicate either impaired vigilance capabilities (i.e., did not see the stop light or sign, or impaired judgment (i.e., decided not to stop). Whatever the form of impairment, if you observe a motorcyclist running a stop light or sign, there is a good chance that he or she is a DWI offender.


drawing of fleeing motorcyclist chased by cruiserEvasion
Evasion, or fleeing an officer, is a recurring problem. If a motorcyclist attempts to evade an officer’s enforcement stop, study results indicate there is a good chance he is a DWI violator as well.




drawing of motorcyclist pulling in wrong way streetWrong Way
Obviously, riding into opposing traffic is dangerous. Study results showed that when you find a motorcycle going the wrong way in traffic, there is a good chance that the operator is under the influence. This includes going the wrong way on a one-way street, and crossing a center divider line to ride into opposing traffic.