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Nine out of ten nighttime cyclists drunk in Holland

25th September 2014

Cyclist in Holland

Researchers at the University of Groningen found that nine out of ten nighttime cyclists had been drinking.

According to a report on NOS.nl, the researchers carried out their work on two Thursday evenings and two Saturday evenings, in the centre of The Hague and the centre of Groningen. They asked about 1000 cyclists to take a breathalyzer test, and two thirds of them agreed to do so.

The researchers began at 5pm, when noone was above the legal alcohol limit. At 1am, 89% had drunk at least some alcohol, and 68% were above the legal limit. There was no significant difference between the two cities.

This is the first time that the alcohol levels of cyclists have been measured. Researcher Dick de Waard told NOS Radio 1 News, 'We thought that a lot of cyclists would have drunk something, but we were surprised by the extent of the problem. The percentage after midnight is really very high.'

Many cyclists are unaware that it's illegal to ride with a blood alcohol level of 0.5% or more. The article points out that it's also illegal to be drunk as a pedestrian, although for people on foot, no blood alcohol level is stipulated - it is down to the police to judge if someone is drunk from outward signs and behaviour.

De Waard said of the late-night drinkers, 'We'd rather have them on a bike than in a car. On a bike, you're mainly a danger to yourself. In a car, you can seriously injure other people.' 

He doesn't think that the police should do more breathalyzer tests on cyclists. He explained the reason for carrying out the research. 'I'm a scientist. I'm interested in knowing what happens.'

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