Photo by Meagan Crump
Don't Drink and Bike this St. Patrick's Day
Story by Jonah Brunet
St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching and, after decades of campaigns against driving under the influence, we thought it might be time to remind our dandy readers to walk it or lock it if you've had too much to drink. While many claim, reasonably enough, that cycling drunk is safer than driving drunk we still want you to arrive alive.
Though not as reprehensible as drunk driving, drunk cycling is still irresponsible. Cycling requires more balance and coordination than driving—things drunk people don’t tend to possess. And, due to a significant lack of protection compared to a 2,000 kg metal box, drunk cyclists arguably pose an even greater threat to themselves. In fact, according to the New York Times, a report by the state’s Department of Health found that over 20 per cent of cyclists killed on the road between 1995 and 2005 had alcohol in their blood.
Part of the reason drunk cycling is so uncritically embraced could have to do with its legality. The impairment section of Ontario's Highway Traffic Act applies only to motor vehicles, according to a Toronto Star interview with the Toronto police, and so it would seem that the most an intoxicated cyclist could be charged with is being drunk in public—and only if so plainly bombed that an officer feels the need to pull him or her over. The U.S. has stricter laws against pedalling under the influence. (Also note, if you are looking for advice on plastered pedalling, you will NOT find it on the Drunk Cyclist website.)
Of course plenty of things remain legal that people still shouldn’t do and, despite the low legal risks, biking under the influence remains a risky way to get home. With its endless flow of green beer, St. Patrick’s Day may not be the holiday known for the intelligence of its celebrants—but there’s no reason it has to be deadly. And, after all, walking a bike down the sidewalk is a great way to stay upright while stumbling blurrily home from the pub. And, as the spring approaches, remember, there will be lots of opportunities to ride again in the sobering sunshine.
Related on the dandyBLOG: