Cycling under the influence – is it illegal?

Cycling in front of car

We all know that driving a motor vehicle under the influence is illegal but did you know that it is also illegal to cycle under the influence?

The legal bit

There is no law in Britain that specifies exactly how much alcohol is permissible for a cyclist but it is ultimately illegal to cycle under the influence and to ride dangerously, carelessly or inconsiderately.

Section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states “A person who, when riding a cycle on a road or other public place, is unfit to ride through drink or drugs (that is to say, is under the influence of drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the cycle) is guilty of an offence."

The punishment of cycling under the influence

The punishment for the offence would most likely be a fine. Your driving licence cannot be endorsed. The Police would most likely assess the cyclist and if they felt the cyclist was a danger to himself and/or others they might arrest him or the cyclist would be cautioned or face a fine.

It is important to note that if alcohol causes a cyclist to ride in a dangerous fashion in terms of Section 28 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, the cyclist could be charged with ‘furious cycling’ which could lead to imprisonment.

Proving a cyclist was under the influence at the time

A cyclist does not have to submit a blood or urine test if the police ask, but this doesn’t mean they would not be found guilty of cycling under the influence.

Even if the cyclist is not found to be guilty of cycling under the influence, they could still be charged with dangerous cycling or careless and inconsiderate cycling.

The common sense approach

It is difficult for a cyclist to know when they would be committing an offence and some may opt to treat drinking and cycling the same as drinking and driving. The current breath alcohol limit in Scotland is 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

We all know that alcohol impairs balance, reaction and judgment.

At this time of the year, we are all attending social events over the festive season but remember, if you are going out to a party, just like you would leave the car at home, do the same with your bicycle!

Legal advice about a cycling accident

If you have been involved in a cycling accident and would like legal advice, call us on 0333 200 5925.

Alternatively, fill in our online enquiry form and we will be back in touch shortly.