Why a bike alcohol lock won’t work

Alcohol Interlock

Alcohol interlock devices should not be mandatory on a motorcycle as they won’t operate properly and are a safety hazard, says a rider who had one fitted.

His comments follow the recent suggestion by University of New South Wales Transport and Road Safety Research Centre Professor Raphael Grzebieta that “an alcohol interlock should be mandatory for every motorcycle”.

READ ABOUT THE PROF’S IDEAS HERE

The Prof says the devices are necessary because “we have seen that alcohol and drugs have a huge effect on the ability of a motorcyclist to stay on their motorbike and also to avoid hazards.”

Toxicological reports from the Australian National Coroners Information System have found that 47% of motorcyclists have consumed alcohol and/or drugs prior to a crash.

“From now on any new vehicles that come in should be developed and fitted to these machines.”

However, our rider whose name has been withheld for obvious reasons, has outlined a litany of problems when he had a Guardian WR2 Interlock device fitted to his BMW R 1200 T.Alcohol Interlock

It was supposed to be fitted for two years but he had it removed after four months, choosing to run the risk of further charges, rather than face the dangers of the device.

HOW AN INTERLOCK WORKS

The Guardian WR2 Interlock device was hard-wired to the bike – in this case the top-box – and an amber flashing unit fitted to the dash to advise when to pull over for a retest.

Alcohol Interlock
Alarm light on dashboard

The rider then has to blow into the device and hum after the first three seconds of blowing.

Our rider says it was a finicky device with a complex procedure that was difficult to get right every time.

The first retest occurs 5-15 minutes after starting the bike and subsequent retests between 15 and 60 minutes.

The retest must be conducted with the vehicle stopped and the engine running, otherwise an alarm sounds and the hazard lights flash.

If another breath test doesn’t work, the bike has to be taken to the service provider within five days to be reset, otherwise it goes into “PERMANENT LOCKOUT” mode.

THE PROBLEMS

He says the need to hum may work in a car with its windows wound up, but on a bike with a lot of ambient noise and interference from power lines and telecommunications towers, it was difficult to get right.

Our rider says the unit also drew a lot of power from the battery which would go flat if the bike was not used for a couple of days.

Using a booster to jumpstart results in a “Tamper Fault” on the device requiring an expensive reset by the service provider.Alcohol Interlock

THE DANGERS

He says the unit left him stranded at the side of busy roads, forced him to pull over in dangerous places, caused his bike to topple over on unsuitable road shoulders damaging his bike and almost resulted in a car hitting his stationary bike.

He says most of the issues he encountered would not affect the driver of a car.

THE VERDICT

Our rider says that after he had the interlock disconnected for his and his pillion’s safety, he was pulled over for speeding on three occasions by Victorian Highway Patrol.

“Each time the condition was picked up by Mr Plod, each time I relayed my story of why I it was no longer fitted and each time the Highway Patrol Officer agreed that it was stupid to have it fitted and were prepared to overlook my breach of condition,” he says.

“On two of those three occasions they even overlooked the speeding offence too. I put that down to the unwritten ‘Attitude Test’ of being polite and courteous and don’t try to bullshit them.”

5 Comments

  1. I must sadly say that the experiences reported by the BMW rt rider in terms of problems with alcohol interlock as fitted to motorcycles is exactly what VicRoads was told when shown a prototype many years ago. Once again the road and safety authourties simply dont pay any attention to what highly experienced and also professionally qualified (engineering and transport) riders tell them.

    However- I can see ways that COULD make an alcohol interlock work, and work well for riders.. and even ways in which riders would like one fitted(at the right price) even if they were not convicted drunk drivers!

    This would be a novel approach for the Safety establishment- but one can hope the NEXT generation of such workers (and ive seen three so far with no sign of change or capacity for learning in this regard) might actually make a partnership with such people!

    It would be wonderful

    I dont think (literally) that I will live that long.

  2. It’s really simple, if 47% of riders are the problem then only 47% of bikes should have alcohol interlock devices fitted.
    Problem solved Professor.

  3. I smell a rat! This sounds like the start of a spin program where they distract us from noticing something extremely unpleasant by having some burk go on about something worse.

  4. Is that right? 47%. Drugs or alcohol, would seem disproportionate.
    But as we all know, we can not have the facts get in the way of a good story, hey professor.
    Once agaín, I would hazard a guess that statistics used, have, lets just say, have been minipluted to suit ones cause, AGAIN!.

    If you are dear professor, going to make such a statement, basiclly claiming that almost 50% of us are either, pissheads or drugies, one would show the data, as proof. Also provide the break down of this so called data.

    .Drugs verses alcohol, would be a good place to start, hey professor.
    .In regards to the alochol, what was the readings? How many had a presence of alochol but where in fact under and well under the limit?
    .Of those riders whom crashed with the presence of alochol under and well under the limit, how many where deemed at fault, particularly those not involved in single vehicle crashes?
    .Of those riders whom crashed with the presence of alochol, under and well under the limit, how many crashed, did so in avoiding a another vehicle, animal, or other road hazard, but still deemed a single vehicle accident?

    Being the cynical old prick I am, and knowing all to well, the manipulation tactics used to present, so called statistics
    .Of the rider crashes, what % of unlicensed riders.
    .Of the rider crashes, what % of unregistered motorcycles.
    .Of the rider crashes, what % happened on private property not public roads.

    Dear professor, here is some of my own statistics gathered from experience, riding the highways and byways over the last 40 years. (shyte am I getting that old, no wonder I’m such a grumpy old prick) 50% of all the so called statistics are total and utter bullshyte, so manipulated that the real value is f all of two/tenths. That 50% of the drivers on the road should not be left in control of a single gold fish in a bowl never mind a vehicle of any sort.
    Stick that in your pipe dear professor and smoke it.

    As for sticking a alcohol lock on my bikes, go take a flying F*#*. I do not have a record for drink driving/riding, ever. My employment subjects me to drug and alcohol testing, therefore I am ever so cautious, as I am required by law 0.0 when on duty.

    Talk about being found guilty, of a crime, that one has not committed.

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