BUI; Cool and Dry

March 16th, 2012

Yesterday, I went for farewell drinks with my coworkers. Some were very concerned about my transportation home after a few drinks. In the end, I had fewer than one drink per hour (beer is so heavy!), and I had an uneventful ride home. However, it made me think about biking under the influence.

Now and again, I see references to how dangerous this is as an activity, but anecdotally, it’s not really taken as seriously as DUI. In fact, the parallels between the two are numerous, mostly because biking for transportation is so similar to driving for transportation. What one loses in the dangers of high speed in a car, one also loses in the protection of an enclosed vehicle. The exception is that a drunk biker is a much smaller threat than a drunk driver.

The police unsurprisingly don’t take BUI seriously. I have a friend who tells of riding his bike while visibly intoxicated: an officer pulled up behind him and announced “Sir, walk your bike or I will take it away.” While humorous, can you imagine a policeman treating drunk driving so cavalierly? (Perhaps you can, I don’t know of any DUI perpetrators personally.)

What are your thoughts on BUI? How do you prepare for an evening with drinks? I know I’d always be the designated biker if I could transport people home from the bar in a bakfiets.

Bakfiets passengers

I'd always want to be the designated biker if I had a bakfiets to carry people home in.

Weather

Temperature: 38

Road condition: Dry

Clothing: Same as the rest of the week: light spring jacket, EVO Drone Gloves, loafers

Comfort: Decidedly underdressed. Some spirited riding kept me from shivering, however it seems willpower alone may not make mid-March into the spring season. I’ll have to wait until next week for that. It is very interesting, though, how ensuring you’re warm before going outside can make such a difference in comfort. My ride last night felt much warmer, even though the conditions were similar and my outfit was the same.

3 Responses to “BUI; Cool and Dry”

  1. William Furr Says:

    I did an impromptu wine tour on a bicycle trip in upstate New York. After the third winery, we decided we couldn’t do any more because we were getting drunk and had lots of miles to cover on rural highways.

    The story with the policeman actually sounds rather like what I would like police to do in that case. You can’t actually walk your car anywhere, but you can with your bicycle. There were potential consequences to continuing to ride, but a drunk cyclist is mainly a danger to themselves, not others.

  2. Weather Guy Says:

    The only thing I disagree with is the pervasive assumption that bad biking doesn’t endanger others. If you cut in front of a car unexpectedly, many drivers will swerve to avoid you, or stop short, or something else seemingly unexpected. Perhaps driving culture is partly to blame, but my point is that it’s not victimless.

  3. William Furr Says:

    That’s true. It would be more appropriate to say that BUI is an order of magnitude less dangerous than DUI, and I’d like to see it treated as such. Not completely dismissed or laughed off, still seriously, but just proportionally.

    As Pete Stidman, the director of the BCU, said something to the effect of “Why would we spend law enforcement time and dollars on the things that aren’t causing carnage?” at the Boston Bikes update, which captures the sentiment quite nicely.

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