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Should drunken cyclists be treated like drunken motorists?

edited April 2009 in Commuting chat
I saw this article http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7994857.stm on the BBC website. 2000 cyclists in prison! Personally I AM in favour of drunken cyclists being treated in the same way as drunken motorists. Our ability to cause an accident is definitely greater when intoxicated. How do other people feel about it? Can you justify cyclists getting special treatment?
Jeremy
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  • BeeblebroxBeeblebrox Posts: 145
    Hmm, cyclists still only really increase the danger to themselves rather than anyone else, and it does seem absurd that you would be equally punished for going to the pub, getting tanked up and cycling back instead of driving back. It's pretty obvious which is the more risky and dangerous.
  • downfaderdownfader Posts: 3,686
    My understanding, from having spoken to Poles here at work, is that Poland hates cyclists even more than some people in the UK.They are also WAY behind us in road safety thinking it acceptable to drink drive. :?

    I personally dont feel the risks are the same, as Beeblebrox said. Much better to fine, and if caught a number of times seize the bike.
  • steve-msteve-m Posts: 106
    Beeblebrox wrote:
    Hmm, cyclists still only really increase the danger to themselves rather than anyone else, and it does seem absurd that you would be equally punished for going to the pub, getting tanked up and cycling back instead of driving back. It's pretty obvious which is the more risky and dangerous.

    +1

    How many cyclist have killed or caused injury to others where them being drunk was a contributory factor? Also how many drunk pedestrians?
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  • I think thats ridiculous. How can you cycle even remotely quickly when you've been on the lash? You'd just fall off surely!

    Comparing the damage a 1000+kg lump of metal travelling at 50+ mph with its power controlled by a mere foot pressure to that of maybe 80kg of wobbly cyclist travelling at most 20mph is laughable.
  • And when 80Kg of drunken wobbly cyclist accidentally swerves out into the path of a 1000+Kg lump of metal which swerves to avoid him and... I admit, it probably doesn't happen very often but I would like to think that there are laws against it.
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    If a drunk 80kg pedestrian falls into the path of a non-drunk cyclist travelling at 20mph the danger to the cyclist is pretty severe as well. Perhaps they should just be consistent and lock up all drunks?
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    Jeez no. An even dafter idea than the curfew.
  • BassjunkieukBassjunkieuk Posts: 4,232
    Having cycled home from London a couple of times after the Morpeth meet ups I can say that I think the only danger I posed was to myself! The roads where a bit quieter then during the rush hour with the exception that cars could use the bus lane!! A bit of a shock when your in that "happy" state :-D

    I also decided it would be "fun" to take the route home that involved more hills.........

    Both of these trips where after about 2 or 3 pints of cider so not seriously drunk, when I did attend the xmas drinks I got the train back to about 2 miles from the house and then rode back on mainly residential back roads to get home!
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  • linsenlinsen Posts: 1,959
    edited April 2009
    I think the chance of causing an accident and serious damage must be smaller, but you could still cause quite a pile-up if a car swerved to avoid you.
    Having said that I would have fewer qualms about getting on a bike after a pint or two that getting in a car (NB I would not drive after two pints - anyone who has seen me after two pints will understand why. In fact I am more likely to be alseep under a table than getting in / on any mode of transport)
    Emerging from under a big black cloud. All help welcome
  • blu3catblu3cat Posts: 1,016
    I agree that the increase in danger in mainly to yourself after a few pints. I have done it once and made it home in one piece.

    However, surely if we want people to take us seriously as road users we have to abide by the laws of the road (see multiple RLJ threads).

    Cycle paths, now that's a different matter. :wink:
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  • Rich158Rich158 Posts: 2,348
    blu3cat wrote:
    I agree that the increase in danger in mainly to yourself after a few pints. I have done it once and made it home in one piece.

    However, surely if we want people to take us seriously as road users we have to abide by the laws of the road (see multiple RLJ threads).

    Cycle paths, now that's a different matter. :wink:

    +1 to that, if we want to have an equal footing as road users then we have to abide by the rules, not pick and choose.

    I do agree that a drunken cyclist poses a minimal threat though, so the punishment should be correspondingly lower
    pain is temporary, the glory of beating your mates to the top of the hill lasts forever.....................

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  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    This is very much a question of I don't honestly practice what I preach.

    Firstly, when I drive I simply won't drink. Not even a taste of wine. Not up for discussion. I simply won't do it.

    On a bike however I have had a drink and ridden home. Riding back after having a drink I don't ride my bike as fast as I do in the day and I don't RLJ at junctions - I crawl to a halt approaching ordinary crossings and if the lights red and the crossing devoid of all life I will go across but I never speed across.

    Is any of the above enough to justify drinking and riding? No. Would I reccommend it? No. Is it stupid? Probably. But like RLJing, wearing or not wearing a helmet and choosing not to wear hi-viz it's my risk to take.

    However, on trips to the Mopeth I'm going to switch to soft drinks a lot sooner than my previous never....
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • GarethPJGarethPJ Posts: 295
    One night I was driving home from my parents when a cyclist I was overtaking swerved into my path, somehow I managed to miss him and hit the opposite kerb. The car very nearly rolled over which would have put us on our roof in a deep ditch. In other words a good chance that we would have been killed or seriously injured.

    The cyclist fell into the road and gave himself a knock on the head, I picked him out of the road and looked after him while we waited for an ambulance. He stank of beer. When the police and ambulance turned up I was breathalised! The ambulance crew insisted on taking the cyclist straight to hospital. By the time the police turned up to breathalise him he had already discharged himself and given a false name and address. Nice, he'd come close to killing me and my wife and caused a massive amount of damage to my car and he thought nothing of legging it.

    Don't give me the line about drunken cyclist being a danger only to themselves. Somebody I knew was killed when a drunk stepped into the street in front of the car in which they were a passenger.

    I have absolutely no tolerance of anybody who takes to the roads when under the influence.
  • NGaleNGale Posts: 1,866
    GarethPJ wrote:
    One night I was driving home from my parents when a cyclist I was overtaking swerved into my path, somehow I managed to miss him and hit the opposite kerb. The car very nearly rolled over which would have put us on our roof in a deep ditch. In other words a good chance that we would have been killed or seriously injured.

    The cyclist fell into the road and gave himself a knock on the head, I picked him out of the road and looked after him while we waited for an ambulance. He stank of beer. When the police and ambulance turned up I was breathalised! The ambulance crew insisted on taking the cyclist straight to hospital. By the time the police turned up to breathalise him he had already discharged himself and given a false name and address. Nice, he'd come close to killing me and my wife and caused a massive amount of damage to my car and he thought nothing of legging it.

    Don't give me the line about drunken cyclist being a danger only to themselves. Somebody I knew was killed when a drunk stepped into the street in front of the car in which they were a passenger.

    I have absolutely no tolerance of anybody who takes to the roads when under the influence.

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  • MithrasMithras Posts: 428
    I fully believe that if you are using the road, then you should be treated the same as other road users. So, if you cycle on a road whilst over the legal limit and are caught then your driving license should be endorsed. If you haven't got one then DVLA will create a ghost license. Of course the way round this is to cycle on the pavement...that's only a £30 fine.

    :twisted:
    I can afford to talk softly!....................I carry a big stick!
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    I cycled into our wheely bin last time I was tipsy - Ultimately, I can't get too plastered as I have a fair old hill to climb to get home from town.......kinda keeps the booze intake low when I am on the bike.
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    i was going to make a point about drunken cyclists cuasing other road users to take evasive action to avoid their wobblings, but it seems GarethPJ got there before me...

    I agree....it is not true to say that drunken cyclists are only a danger to themselves. As illustrated by GarethPJ's post, this is clearly not the case.
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    No way - this whole thing is starting to sound like the Tories self-flagellation period of a few years ago, desperately trying to appease every opposing viewpoint. And we know where appeasement leads to...

    Look - there are grades of road users, all the way from cyclists right the way up to 32 ton juggernauts. Why don't we all offer to pay £2000 PA in VED so that we can really claim to own the chuffing roads? It's nuts, this whole 'please send me to prison so that I can be seen as an equal'. We're not equals and that's just a simple statement of fact. We go slower, we invariably get in the way at pinch-points, we're quasi-peds in my book not reduced-motorists, and the number of motorists who might change their spots because cyclists get dragged up into ever-more draconian laws and Sun-reader arguments of 'lets send everyone to jail' will be absolutely minimal, and probably fewer than that - i.e. zero.

    To GarethPJ, your experience was bad, but there are already enough laws around to punish the miscreants who do what he nearly did to you - manslaughter, drunk & disorderly etc, I don't know what else - get that lawyer fellow in to fill this bit in if you like. The standard Govt response to any problem these days is to introduce a law, even where current statute perfectly covers the 'new' problem. You saying we need another raft of legislation to catch us out, to allow us to be fined or punished more severely? Not for me thanks... But regardless of all that he did a runner anyway which pretty much renders any law ineffective. And this is all so metropolitan. What about the generations of my family who have successfully walked, cycled and not so long ago driven the tractor to the village pub and had a few too many? Are you seriously claiming that me riding quite correctly back to the top of our lane after a pleasant evening in The Cross Keys should be subject to the same laws as the bloke who sets off after me and drives home? Cyclists per se don't have anything like the same potential for death & mayhem that a car driver does. GarethPJ's example could just as easily be used for insisting that all drunken peds be jailed. It's a load of old horse-poo. Jail drunks & villains for what they do, not for some imagined potential for harm. You might as well lock me up for being a potential rapist - I've got the kit, ready to go...
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Jail drunks & villains for what they do, not for some imagined potential for harm.

    So there should be no drink-driving laws? You have THE most warped attitude to the law of anyone on this site, Chris :)
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    Flattery.... :)

    You know what I mean. The potential damage by a cyclist is nothing to that for a car doing 40 through the village, or even that there Lunnon town I expect.
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    Wow. I thought I was going to get a +1 for honesty. Now I may never go to the Mopeth again....

    There are many many many many people (Biondino) who I've seen drinking and then ride their bikes home. There are even more old town hacks chained to the rails outside the pub doesn't make it OK I'm just pointing that out....

    Obviously drinking and riding or drinking and driving are bad and shouldn't be done. But personally I'd rather see people leaving the pub after 'a drink' on a bike rather than behind the wheel of a car...
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • GarethPJGarethPJ Posts: 295
    Jail drunks & villains for what they do, not for some imagined potential for harm.

    Now that's the biggest load of censored I've read on this forum. By that argument it's perfectly legal to drive a 40 tonner under the influence as long as you don't have an accident. Hell, in your bizarre world carrying a loaded sidearm would be legal as long as you didn't shoot anybody.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    I've cycled drunk, and i've also walked in the past.

    I don't drive at all, but i know that some people will have a drink, and make the decision that they are alright to drive, and will be under the limit.

    Why not let yourself apply the same logic to cycling. If I think I can cycle home safely then i will, if i've been stumbling round the pub and i can't see straight then I usually can't get my leg over (the bike....) or clip in so i walk home using the bike as a support aid.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    GarethPJ wrote:
    Jail drunks & villains for what they do, not for some imagined potential for harm.

    Now that's the biggest load of fool I've read on this forum. By that argument it's perfectly legal to drive a 40 tonner under the influence as long as you don't have an accident. Hell, in your bizarre world carrying a loaded sidearm would be legal as long as you didn't shoot anybody.

    It used to be quite normal for us to carry weaponry around for the purposes of shooting vermin etc. That's actually quite a valid suggestion, that carrying a gun round the farm is ok as long we don't shoot the kids or fire it across the motorway... It used to be ok to carry a gun, but entirely different crimes resulted in guns being a big no-no full stop. Progress...? Yes, for you in London, except that you all stab each other every weekend instead of shooting each other now acc to the papers. What's that? An exaggeration? Like the problem with drunk cyclists I suspect.

    Good to see that my throwaway line at the end of my piece is the only bit that's being picked apart. Ok - so it was a bit glib, but the gist of it is that a drunk cyclist is nowhere near the problem that a drunken driver is, and therefore threatening a piddly cyclist with jail for doing nothing other than pootling home across the village to a deserted lane past the dried-up pond down to the ranch is a ridiculous suggestion. In that situation, jail is a steam-driven pile-driver cracking a monkey nut. Overkill. And adequate laws exist to deal with this non-existent problem.

    The view that we are equal so we should ask for the same punishment as car drivers just so that they respect us a bit more is barking to me though. We're not equal. In any collision between two vehicles, the outcome is questionable. In any collision between a cyclist and a motor vehicle, the outcome will most likely be the same as one between a ped and a vehicle. That's why we're not and never will be equal to motor traffic.

    Anyway. Back to work...
  • jamescojamesco Posts: 687
    Seems bonkers to me to treat bikers like drivers - the potential for damage is just so much less. That said, there is some evidence that alcohol may be a factor in 21% of bicycle fatalities (in New York):

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/ ... deaths/?hp
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    DonDaddyD wrote:
    Wow. I thought I was going to get a +1 for honesty. Now I may never go to the Mopeth again....

    There are many many many many people (Biondino) who I've seen drinking and then ride their bikes home. There are even more old town hacks chained to the rails outside the pub doesn't make it OK I'm just pointing that out....

    Did you really need to out me? You're right, and it's something I would admit if I thought it was interesting or helpful, but, you know...

    For what it's worth, I have had two incidents happen when riding over the limit which have made me seriously reconsider - one where I almost came off through clattering against the kerb, and another when I almost got fatally right hooked by some scum u-turning without notice. The latter wasn't my fault, and no harm was done, but not only was I boiling with rage but if I had been on the very edge of safety in such a situation, I would rather be sober enough to deal with it knowing my faculties were intact.
  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    biondino wrote:
    DonDaddyD wrote:
    Wow. I thought I was going to get a +1 for honesty. Now I may never go to the Mopeth again....

    There are many many many many people (Biondino) who I've seen drinking and then ride their bikes home. There are even more old town hacks chained to the rails outside the pub doesn't make it OK I'm just pointing that out....

    Did you really need to out me? You're right, and it's something I would admit if I thought it was interesting or helpful, but, you know...

    Almost everyone who goes to the Morpeth cycles home over the driving limit, apart from the occasional teetotaller. Certainly not just Biondino.

    It's discretion really, if you're barely standing it ain't a good plan to cycle home, but if you've just had a few beers and you don't think you're a danger to anyone then why not... far better than driving, although I take the point about errant swerving cyclists you're far less likely to cause an accident or injury to anyone but yourself on a bike.
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    biondino wrote:
    DonDaddyD wrote:
    Wow. I thought I was going to get a +1 for honesty. Now I may never go to the Mopeth again....

    There are many many many many people (Biondino) who I've seen drinking and then ride their bikes home. There are even more old town hacks chained to the rails outside the pub doesn't make it OK I'm just pointing that out....

    Did you really need to out me? You're right, and it's something I would admit if I thought it was interesting or helpful, but, you know...

    Almost everyone who goes to the Morpeth cycles home over the driving limit, apart from the occasional teetotaller. Certainly not just Biondino.

    It's discretion really, if you're barely standing it ain't a good plan to cycle home, but if you've just had a few beers and you don't think you're a danger to anyone then why not... far better than driving, although I take the point about errant swerving cyclists you're far less likely to cause an accident or injury to anyone but yourself on a bike.

    OK, my intention, though has clearly come across that way, was not to single Blondie out.

    I was mostly reacting to this post:
    Jail drunks & villains for what they do, not for some imagined potential for harm.

    So there should be no drink-driving laws? You have THE most warped attitude to the law of anyone on this site, Chris

    I didn't understand considering you've, like most of us, have chosen to break those laws.

    Maybe its the percieved reduced risk but many would prefer to be drunk and incharge of a bike than a car, not because a bike is easier to control but the risk and potential damage caused is thought to be far less.
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    if i am going to the pub i leave the car and the bike at home (or office).

    If I take the car or bike, then I nver drink any more than a bottle of beer (not stella)

    I have ridden home once after too many and it was horrible. never again.
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • patchypatchy Posts: 779
    i think the key here is the word 'drunken' - there's a major difference between some cycling home having had a couple of drinks and still being compos mentis and someone wobbling their way home pissed out of their face. As a crass generalisation, I'd argue that the former is probably acceptable and the latter isn't.

    I dunno, I'm happy cycling after a couple of beers, but i wouldn't cycle home after four. I suppose it's about knowing your limits, and knowing the point when you become a danger to yourself and other people.
    point your handlebars towards the heavens and sweat like you're in hell
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