Dry & drive, or drink & ride?

To spare myself the trouble of looking up the actual law, I’ll just tell you what a former police officer recently told me, that cops on the beat are no more concerned about drunken people on bikes than drunken people on foot. In other words, drink as much as you like if you’re going by bike, just keep your voice down if you’re swearing at light poles and try not to rest your head on your handlebars for more than a second. I feel ratified for my blog comments of 4 years ago:

The legal blood alcohol limit for cycling, is as for dancing. Thus anyone who was dancing well upon leaving the nightclub to go cycle home, may proceed with a clear conscience (Dr. Behooving, 2010)

I write this against the backdrop of recent calls from Victorian police to lower the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.05 to 0.02%. They don’t mean for cyclists. They’re referring to drivers. You know, those scum bags who clutter the street with their cars and have a few beers before leaving work every Friday. According to police modelling, lowering the legal limit to less than one standard drink in one hour will save 60 lives every year. According to my modelling, it will also increase the number of cyclist in this country by hundreds of thousands.

Protected from the world by oceans and Asia, most Australians don’t realise the importance of drunken cycling to city life. Without it, frankly, there is precious little to do in European cities aside maybe from whoring or buying Armani—two things no one wants to do anyway now the Hungarians have gotten in on those acts. In any case, neither can hope to compare with the sheer lark of floating from dance floor to dance floor by bike, with none of those nagging doubts you have when you walk and fear someone might mug you.

Tightening the screws for drunk drivers, and leaving things as they are for the vast majority of people who can stay straight on their bikes when they’ve had a few,  would be a positive step toward more cycling (both tipsy and sober, who cares) here in Australia. I’ll leave you with footage from a lovely night I was part of in Rotterdam almost 2 years ago now, for the launch of my book. We all had a few drinks, then a few talks, then some more drinks, then went for a ride.

About Steven

I'm on a mission to put cycling on the agendas of architects, urban designers and fellow academics, who see the potential for bicycles to change cities and buildings. My PhD is in architectural history and my interdisciplinary research spans art theory, philosophy and cultural studies. I teach architectural history and theory and design studio at The University of Tasmania, Australia, and formerly worked as an architect designing large public housing projects in Singapore.
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2 Responses to Dry & drive, or drink & ride?

  1. crank says:

    gosh i missed your posts. never leave again!

    a friend of my brother’s had a run-in with Barcelona police for drunk cycling. I don’t quite remember what happened, I believe he had to pay a fine.

    • Steven says:

      why thanks Dr. Crank! Some of my blogging time is also being taken up working on a new book. I plan soon to post some ideas I’m working on there that yourself and other regular readers might help me refine. Thanks again.

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