Is there an alcohol limit when riding a bike?

Is there an alcohol limit for a cyclist?

Is there an alcohol limit for a cyclist?

One of the girls is injured and unable to run on her ankle, so we decided to meet for a bike ride instead.  None of us are cyclists, neither are we County runners, we're just a bunch of women in their forties that drink too much so exercise to counter balance it.

I didn't even have a cycle helmet so had to borrow my 12 year old sons, thankfully it was plain black and green and didn't have a character or football team displayed on it.

Less than 2 mile into the cycle, just as I reached the brow of the hill we ran into difficulties, with a chain malfunction.  Whilst I'd been told how to use the gears, no one had told me that I needed to be moving the pedals when changing gear, so of course my chain came off. 

Thankfully a nice man, saw us struggle and managed to reattach my chain to the cassette, so we were able to continue with our journey.

We headed up the C2C (Coast to Coast) path, with a plan of reaching 10 mile and then heading back.

Passing lots of cyclists, clearly more experienced than us, as I struggled with the gentle incline, almost halting to a stop at some points reducing my speed to 3.3 mph.

As we turned around at mile 10, I was thankful that it was then all flat and downhill, managing to travel at a reasonable 12.5 mph.

At 15.5 miles in, we decided to stop off at the local pub and reward our hard work with a glass or two of red and replenish those calories whilst hydrating.

An hour later, comfortably re-fueled we were ready to complete our journey home, when a cyclist with a motorized bike passed us quickly on the C2C pathway.  It got me thinking, when does it become an offence to ride whilst under the influence of alcohol?  Not that I thought we were under the influence, we'd only shared one bottle between us, but it did make me think.  I promise there's a point to me wittering on. 

The legal Drink Drive Limit 

So what is the legal drink drive limit?  According to the metropolitan police, the legal limit for a breath test is 35 mg per 100 ml, this relates to drivers. 

In fact there's a bill currently going through the house of Lords to have an amendment in the Road traffic act relating to the levels of alcohol permitted in your breath reduced to 14 mg per 100 ml.  It's currently at the 2nd reading stage.  It would still need to go through the 3rd stage, before being presented to the house of commons.

So what about bicycles?

Well, the Road traffic act 1988 section 5, does stipulate "motor vehicles", which would suggest any mode of transport with a motor, this includes a bicycle or scooter with a motor.

Bicycles without a motor comes under the Road traffic act 1988 section 30, so whilst you can not be breathalyzed you would be committing an offence if you're unable to control the bicycle as a result of being under the influence of drink or drugs.


Whilst I was talking about cycling, a leisurely ride is very different to being in control of a motor vehicle whilst under the influence.  If the House of Lords are discussing a bill to reduce the limit further, it won't be long before the bill reaches parliament.  

If taking your car lease abroad with you, make sure that you're aware of their law regarding the drink driving limit, as many European countries have a limit less than the UK.

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