As many as eighty percent of cyclists under the age of 30 going home after a night out have too much alcohol in their blood. This is revealed in a report by the SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research.

Contrast with car drivers

These findings are in sharp contrast with the reduction in alcohol use among young car drivers. In 2013, only 3 percent of these were found to have driven with too much alcohol in their blood after midnight.

The maximum legal blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.5 g/L. This level can be reached by drinking two beers without a break. According to the report, double this amount was found among young cyclists after 3 a.m. This increases the risk of an accident with injury by five times compared with a sober cyclist.

Information no solution

This contrast between the number of drink-driving offences among car drivers on the one hand and cyclists on the other is interesting, but also logical. Many young people consciously choose to cycle rather than drive, because they are going to be having a drink. Alcohol use among cyclists is socially more accepted. Drunk cyclists are more of a danger to themselves than to anyone else.

This reasoning may seem logical, but officially the permitted alcohol level for car drivers is the same for cyclists. Relatively few people know this, however. Sixty percent of cyclists are not aware of the legal limit, according to the report. Nevertheless, better information about alcohol in traffic does not seem to be the solution for the problem of the high number of drunk cyclists. Cyclists who are familiar with the legal limit do not drink less alcohol.