If you walk around any urban or rural area of Germany....you tend to say that bikes are fairly popular. Statistical analysis notes that there's almost one bike for every single German (somehow, they've figured it out to roughly seventy-one million bikes). I'm not sure of the accuracy of the number and would question if a quarter of the bikes are simply sitting in the basement....wasting away. I'd also note that these urban bike-rental deals are popping up and cities like Mainz and Wiesbaden probably have at least a thousand bikes each....in rental status on some street.
Anyway....all of this leads to the topic of drinking and biking (not driving). Folks have come to note that Germans like to drink a bit, and will then ride their bikes.
In a car, as a driver....you are considered legally drunk and unable to drive when your blood-alcohol level gets to .5 percent.
Up until this week....a bike rider was considered drunk and unfit to ride a bike at 1.6 percent. Yeah, they'd actually done tests to show balance was just about impossible at that point. To be honest, I would think balance would be difficult at .5 percent.
Well....anyway.....the Auto Club of Europe sat down and looked at the numbers in Germany. Seventy-seven thousand folks injured yearly from bikes. This was gleaned from hospital/insurance records. A fair sum, you must admit. In the middle of their analysis....they've come to realize that around three thousand of these bike accidents relate to alcohol. This got the government to asking questions.
So, this week, they lowered the drunk-while-biking limit to 1.1.
Most of us would say that it ought to logically be .5 like the car driver limit.....but they seemed to want to avoid putting the bikers into the same category.
Do cops actually stop guys on bikes for the alcohol tests? Yeah....that's a common theme throughout the summer months (not so much in the winter). They will position a couple of cops near urban centers...pull them to the side and demand a test. As long as they see you just pushing your bike while over the 1.1 level....you might avoid a ticket.
Bottom line? Riding a bike is serious business, and mixing alcohol into the episode isn't bright.