Many late night cyclists break ‘drunk in charge of a bike’ rules

Cyclists are flouting laws banning them from cycling under the influence of alcohol on a massive scale, researchers at Groningen University have found.

Nine out of 10 cyclists asked to take a breathalyser while on a late night out in Groningen and The Hague were found to have been drinking, the researchers told the Volkskrant. Of the cyclists tested between 01.00 and 03.00 hours, 68% had drunk more than the legal limit.

The research was carried out together with the road safety research foundation SWOV and took place over two Thursday and two Saturday nights. In total, 1,000 cyclists were asked to take part and 750 agreed to be breathalysed. No difference in the drinking rate was found between the two cities.


This is the first time that cyclists have been tested en masse for drinking. Many are not aware they are breaking the law if they have an alcohol percentage of more than 0.05% in their blood and can face a fine of €140, the Volkskrant says.

Just 4% of the cyclists in The Hague also admitted to using drugs, compared with 11% of Groningen cyclists.

SWOV spokeswoman Divera Twisk said the figures could show why 10% of cycle accidents take place between midnight and dawn, even though only 2.4% of the total distance travelled by bike is late at night.

Road safety campaign group VVN said the figures are shocking. ‘Alcohol is not good for road safety and cyclists should not drink,’ spokewoman José de Jong said. The police should step up their controls on cyclists but not at the expense of checks on motorists, she told the paper.

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