The dangers of driving a car while affected by alcohol are well known. Researchers in the USA have now shown that alcohol poses even greater dangers to cyclists.
Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, demonstrated that a single drink increases the risk of death or serious injury to cyclists by 5 times. Having 5 drinks before riding your bike increases the risk 20 times.
The researchers noted that riding a bicycle requires greater psychomotor skill and physical co-ordination than driving a car, which explains why the risks increase so dramatically under the influence of alcohol. Bike riders who had been drinking were less likely to use safety precautions such as helmets, increasing the risk of serious injury still further.
Some people who have lost their driving licence for drunk driving switch to bicycles as a means of transport. They should remember that alcohol is still a major hazard with this form of transport.
Last Reviewed: 27 February 2002