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Senate supports moderate drinking of cyclists

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Prague, Aug 25 (CTK) – Cyclists should be allowed to ride with a moderate amount of alcohol in blood of up to 0.8 per mille, that is to have a few glasses of beer or wine, on local roads, according to an amendment that the Czech Senate, the upper house of parliament, approved on Thursday.

Now the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, is to decide on the bill. Similar changes were not pushed through in the past.

The Transport Ministry is opposed to the lifting of zero tolerance of alcohol on the road, including cyclists.

According to the senators’ bill, cyclists on cycling paths, in villages and on third-category roads could have up to 0.8 per mille of alcohol in blood if they were alone on the bicycle. Moreover, the alcohol consumption must not seriously affect their ability to ride a bicycle.

The amendment would preserve a fine for drunk cycling, but it would lower it from the current 2,500 to 20,000 crowns to 500 crowns maximally.

Sanctions for a cyclist causing a traffic accident under the influence of alcohol would be preserved.

The bill was submitted by 20 senators headed by Senate deputy chairman Zdenek Skromach (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD). He failed to push through such a change to the road traffic law last year.

Skromach justified the amendment, saying the current law actually prevented the full use of “wine” cycling paths along vineyards and wineries where cyclists are expected to taste wine. He points out that the police are often checking cyclist around wine cellars and pubs now.

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