Bicycle Diaries: Under the influence?

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13.4.09

Under the influence?

d(rinking &)rolling

Have you ever been a droller? Being drunk while rolling seems to be as much a part of biking as funky t-shirts. Any veteran masser can tell you lots of stories about the inebriated antics on Critical Mass. During the new Northside Critical Mass a few weeks back, I watched a droller back-end a parked police car! Luckily nothing happened. He was going too slow to have much of an impact and the cop was more chagrined than angry.

In fact, drolling is so common that there was a bumper crop of articles about it last week. Over at the NYTimes, City Desk blogger, Jennifer Lee, discusses the findings of a recent NYC Health Department report:
Some 21 percent of autopsies for New York City bicyclists who died within three hours of their accidents detected alcohol in the body, according to a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene study that examined fatal bicycling accidents in New York City from 1996 to 2005.
And across the pond BBC correspondent, Adam Easton, reports that Poland's Constitutional Court has upheld a lower court ruling that drollers, like drunk cagers, can be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The sobering news here is that the average prison sentence of the 2000 drollers convicted so far is 11.5 months. But not all judges, nor even all prison officials, agree. They argue that drollers are no different from drunken pedestrians who are self-propelled; and therefore less dangerous than your average drunk cager. So they should be fined rather than jailed.

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