Drinking and Cycling – What You Should Know


There has always been a lot of focus on eliminating drunk driving for the safety of drivers, passengers, other road users and pedestrians alike, but, whilst obviously looked down upon, stopping people from being drunk in charge of a bike has never been so much of a priority. So much so that in the eyes of the law, there is no limit to the amount that you can drink, just that you have to be ‘fit to ride’.

For some people this might seem like an open invitation to take their bike out on a night out to be used as their transportation home after an evening of drinking. According to research, intoxicated cyclists are ten times more at risk than sober ones – whether it is through accidents or falling off their bike, and they are much less likely to wear a helmet.

Recent studies have shown that even with low levels of alcohol in their blood, cyclists were affected. By the time that they reached the legal limit for driving a car, there was a ‘significant increase in gross motoric disturbances’. The test, which involved cycling in a straight line, along a narrowing track, slaloming between poles and riding in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions, showed that of those with over the legal car driving limit, not one of them could match their sober cycling performance.

So, what can we do to ensure safer cycling for those who want to enjoy a little drink?

The Alcoho-Lock

One Japanese company’s solution to the drunk-cycling issue is their new invention – the Alcoho-Lock. The bright yellow bike lock is synched up to an app which your friend or partner has on their phone. When you go to unlock your bike, you have to breathe into the lock which acts as a breathalyser and if your blood alcohol level is too high, an alert will be sent to your friend or partner via the app.

The Pros

The benefits of the Alcoho-Lock are obvious. For those who are more likely to fall into the drunken cycling trap, it can save lives, if not serious or minor injury. It means that your friend or partner won’t need to be keeping an eye on you for the whole night, and they can be at ease with the fact that you will be safe to cycle on your return home.

The Cons

The main disadvantage of the Alcoho-lock is that once it’s done it job as a breathalyser, that’s it. People will always find a way around it and if your bike is left in an unsafe area, it could cause a problem. Another potential issue could be if your or you partner’s phone runs out of battery and you can’t access the app, there’s no unlocking it.

Although maybe it is a more light hearted solution, the issue or cycling when under the influence of alcohol is a serious one and one which needs to be addressed more. The roads aren’t a safe place to be after drinking, whether you are in charge of a car, bike or even walking.

It seems that to really have your wits about you, put yourself in the most secure position and free yourself from any guilt should something happen, the only option is to drink nothing. Only you know how much you feel is enough for you to be in control, and so how much you drink before cycling is a decision that only you with your conscience can make.