Cycling is intoxicating, it gives a natural high but it’s also a very sociable activity and those who partake in the weekend ‘pub run’ will
attest that cycling is easier after the odd drink or two.
A social tipple imbibed in moderation – the proverbial swift half –
will not lead to a massive impairment in your ability to ride home but, despite alcohol’s pain reducing effect, it impairs athletic performance so too much booze is bad for biking.
The Licensing Act 1872 makes it an offence to be drunk in charge of a
bicycle (or any other vehicle or carriage, or cattle) on a highway or
in a public place but this old law also forbids any public drunkenness
– even in a pub – so is clearly never enforced.
In law a bicycle is defined as a carriage for use on the highway but
cyclists are not in charge of ‘mechanically propelled’ vehicles so, in
law, do not have to adhere to exactly the same ‘drink drive’ rules as
Section 30 Road Traffic Act 1988 says: “It is an offence for a person
to ride a cycle on a road or other public place when unfit to ride
through drink or drugs – that is to say – is under the influence of a
drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper
control of the cycle.
In Scotland a PC may arrest without warrant a person committing an
offence under this section.
There is no obligation for a cyclist to
submit to a blood or urine alcohol test.
‘Road’ in the above bit of legislation includes a bridleway so don’t
think you can get blotto at a country pub and ride home ‘off road’
And here’s the rub, if you ride drunk you risk endangering yourself
and possibly others by your actions.
Would you ride home blindfolded?
Beer-googles and bicycles do not mix. And, as stated above, cycling
‘dangerously’ can be fined by up to £2500.
With the rise in cycle use in London, there are going to be a
collision or two from time to time, we are also seeing an increase in
cyclists riding home at night some worst for the wear.
So if the unfortunate happens, and you are involved in a collision
with a cyclist, call the police, and ask for the cyclist to be
breathalysed ,it might just save you when trying to claim the damages
back from the cyclist