Should you drink and ride?

31 Mar

As the weather turns from cold and dreary to mild, or some would say warm, and sunny, more and more are dusting off their bikes and enjoying the weather. What’s more fun than enjoying the weather on a bicycle with friends? Maybe enjoying the weather on a bicycle with friends after having a few pints?

Section 30 of the 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.” So, in a technical world, you’re just as guilty cycling after two pints as you are driving after two pints.

Or you could refer to the Licensing Act 1872, which states that it is an offence to be drunk in charge of a bicycle, or any other vehicle, on a highway or in a public place. However, this act also sets out that being drunk in public is also illegal. So you’re probably safe in having to worry about defending yourself against the Licensing Act of 1872 if you’re going to drink and ride.

Even if you’re stopped and the bobby can’t be bothered to determine if you’ve had more than your fair share, you could still be deemed to be riding dangerously. The penalty for riding dangerously? Up to £2,500.

So in legal speak, there are plenty of ways to get in trouble on your bike if you’ve had a few. And that’s before factoring in any sort of physical dangers.

A study of cyclist fatalities in New York City released in 2009 said that 21 percent of victims had alcohol in their systems. So it’s not exactly the laughing matter many believe.

Do you ride home from the pub? How many is too many to ride? Is there a too drunk to ride?

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2 Responses to “Should you drink and ride?”

  1. tiddly cyclist March 31, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    I cycle to pub quiz every week, I feel momentum keeps you safe. I am quite a well practiced drinker these days for my sins so I’d say my limit is 4 pints. But I wouldn’t be happy with a teenage son of mine drinking more than four pints and cycling home via busy roads.

  2. mikey2gorgeous April 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I frequently ride home after 4-6 pints. I was stopped once by some Police who made me walk putting one foot in front of the other (toe to heel) and another exercise (which I forget now!!). I find it no real hiderance but then I’m riding on very quiet roads at that time.

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