Revealed: Third of bikers in fatal road accidents had been drinking
Almost one third of bikers involved in fatal road accidents had been drinking, research has found.
Detailed analysis of 93 crashes involving motorcyclists between 2008 and 2012 revealed speed was a factor in about half of them.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) warned about the levels of drink-driving among bike users, with 29% of those caught in a fatal accident having alcohol in their system.
Its research showed almost half of those who had been drinking were four times or more above the legal limit and bikers aged 25 to 34 were more likely to have been drinking before taking to the roads.
It also revealed that the motorcyclist was at fault in 72 of the 93 crashes.
The RSA analysis is examining detail behind all the fatal accidents in the four years to 2012 when Ireland witnessed its biggest reduction in road deaths.
But Moyagh Murdock, RSA chief executive, said: "It does highlight worrying behaviour among motorcyclists, particularly where alcohol and speed are concerned.
"It's critical that those who are seasoned bikers, as well as those who are new to this mode of transport, recognise their vulnerability on the roads and take appropriate measures, such as initial and advanced training, to ensure their safety.
"Other road-users also need to be aware of their responsibilities when sharing the roads with motorcyclists, particularly when exiting or entering a side road or turning right."
Garda Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid said the drink-driving figures were shocking.
"Motorcyclists are already among the most vulnerable of our road-users and the report clearly shows that when alcohol is involved, the consequences are fatal," he said.
"Excessive and inappropriate speed was also a significant contributory factor to motorcycle fatalities in this period. What this tells us is that we need to make better choices when we use the roads, no matter what mode of transport we're using."
The landmark research was released to coincide with the start of Road Safety Week.
The RSA said there were 983 fatal road collisions on the country's roads from 2008 to 2012 and 1,077 people died.
Of the 93 crashes involving motorbikes, 96 people were killed and another seven were seriously injured.
The study also revealed 54% of the deaths on the roads involving a motorbike were in an 80km/h speed zone.
Almost half of the fatal motorcycle crashes were in six counties - Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary.
The RSA said the research revealed patterns in when accidents involving motorbikes occurred, with 57% of those with drink in their system having crashed on a Sunday.
It also found that more motorcyclists who had been drinking were involved in fatal accidents between 5pm and 6pm on a Sunday than at any other time during the week.
The study also revealed that 30% of those who were at fault for accidents had no insurance and 15% did not hold a current motorcycle licence at the time of the collision.
This year 139 people have been killed on Irish roads, 21 fewer than the same period last year, the RSA said.