Marijuana in Motorcycling: What You Need to Know About Riding High

MSF releases marijuana awareness kit and video

Riding a motorcycle while under the influence of marijuana is always a bad idea. Slowed reaction time and altered perception can lead easily lead to an accident. Luckily for those of you who have never felt the effects of the drug, MSF has now released a kit to help you feel what it's like and realize exactly how impaired a stoned rider might be.

Here's what they had to say about their new kit:

-New course-in-a-box delivers valuable lessons in a fun, interactive manner
-While not attempting to duplicate a marijuana high, the Kit creatively models how marijuana can impair judgment and the application of motorcycle riding skills
-Course can be taught by anyone interested in leading a motorcyclist safety event

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has introduced the newest member of its Host-An-Event family of traffic safety-themed courses-in-a-box: the Riding Straight - Marijuana Awareness Host-An-Event Kit. The Kit is a fun, effective way to demonstrate to motorcyclists how marijuana can affect the crucial skills required for safe motorcycle riding.

Marijuana is gaining acceptance as having legitimate medicinal applications and as a recreational drug in the United States, as evidenced by recent trends in state laws permitting its use. As of January 2016, 23 states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana for medical use, and four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) plus DC allow it for recreational use by adults 21 and over.

Although marijuana may be legal for medicinal or recreational use in one's state, it is still not legal, safe, or wise to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by marijuana, since it tends to distort perception of time, space, and speed. This is especially true for motorcycle riders, who must continually make detailed assessments of complex traffic situations and make split-second decisions requiring precise rider input to navigate safely and maintain an adequate safety margin.

MSF already addresses alcohol-impaired riding in its popular Riding Straight - Alcohol Awareness Host-An-Event Kit, which uses Innocorp's Fatal Vision Alcohol Impairment Simulation Goggle so participants can experience alcohol impairment with a sober mind - and no hangover.

Similarly, MSF's Riding Straight - Marijuana Awareness kit uses Innocorp's new Marijuana Impairment Simulation Goggle at the core of three separate activities that demonstrate how marijuana and motorcycling are a risky mix. As with all MSF Host-An-Event kits, the Marijuana Awareness kit can be purchased and used by anyone interested in being a facilitator for special events, riding club meetings and rallies, and community outreach programs, without any certification from MSF or prior experience as a teacher.

The Goggle cannot truly replicate the effects of a marijuana “high” but the unique way in which it distorts perceptions causes some impairments. The participant then needs to attempt to compensate for these impairments to complete the kit's activities. Because the impairments are in the same general areas of cognition and motor skills affected by marijuana, the participant can get a sense of the challenges a “high” driver or motorcyclist would face when dealing with traffic situations.

According to MSF President and CEO Tim Buche, “MSF's message with our new Riding Straight - Marijuana Awareness Host-An-Event Kit is clear: Do not operate your motorcycle or any motor vehicle if you are impaired by marijuana, and find alternate transportation if you are planning to be under the influence of marijuana at your destination. Not only is it unsafe, but just as with alcohol, riders impaired by marijuana can be convicted of riding under the influence, and be subjected to similar harsh penalties”.

The National Motorcycle Safety Fund, the non-profit, charitable arm of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, provided seed funding to MSF for the development of this new kit. NMSF supports the work of MSF in the areas of research, curriculum development, delivery of rider training courses, and community outreach programs in order to help eliminate crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

The kit will be available in early 2016 at MSF's online store (msf-usa.org) for a one-time investment of $595.