Cycling | The alcohol limit for cycling raises the debate – This is how the ministry justifies the proposal

The alcohol limit proposal is included in the memorandum of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, whose comment period ended on Friday.

News the proposed limit of half a million for cycling has sparked discussion on social media, for example. Helsingin Sanomat reported earlier this week The cycling association opposes the proposal on the alcohol limit.

The proposal is included in the evaluation memorandum of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, which also deals with the regulation of electric scooters. Pyöräliitto justified its position by saying that the new blood alcohol limit could guide intoxicated people to use motor vehicles instead of bicycles. Another reason was that, according to the union, monitoring the border would be impossible.

For example On HS’s Facebook page, the article about Pyöräliitto’s position was commented on, among other things: “Imagine the news: “Autoliitto demands the abolition of the alcohol limit”. No one would consider sane. I’ve been there once when a cyclist who was a little tired was riding hard downhill and made the mistake of touching the front brake too hard. Flew over the bar like Tarzan.”

Readers also commented on the news lively on HS’s website. In the comments in favor of the limit, for example, it was considered special that “traffic safety is not a priority”: “Every fatality that can be eliminated by the blood alcohol limit is in everyone’s interest.”

“Drunk crashes in their various forms really cause a lot of sadness and suffering as well as big costs for all of us,” says another commenter.

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The positions of the Bicycle Federation were also surprised by saying that the union must understand that “it’s not about cyclists, but about the safety of other people moving around, especially pedestrians”.

Also comments against the border were made: “What kind of resources do the police use to start blowing up cyclists? In condition of 0.5 per mille, i.e. after a pint or two, a cyclist pedaling home from the summer terrace is in perfectly good driving condition. Now should the police intervene in this?” we wonder in the comments.

“If you can easily drive a one-and-a-half-ton car at 0.49 per thousand without penalty, why would the correct limit be the same for a lightly swaying jockey in his twenties?” asks another.

One of the commenters also believes that it is “quite clear that driving on the känn will increase if you only get the same punishment as for being drunk”.

Feelings The proposal that raised the issue is contained in a memo, on which the ministry requested statements by the end of March from more than a hundred parties, including Finland’s largest cities, hospitals and ELY centers.

Others were also able to give a statement on the matter. Through the service, 62 parties received statements by the deadline. The statement could also be sent by email or letter to the ministry’s registry office.

For example, Liikenneturva’s CEO Pasi Anteroinen considers in its statement that the costs brought out in the memorandum are a very strong justification for extended regulation.

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In its statement, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) draws attention to the fact that the safety problems of so-called micro-mobility only started to appear more widely when shared electric scooters entered the market. According to Traficom, city bikes have been in use since 2000.

Pyöräliitto, on the other hand, considers the memo partly incomplete and some of the proposed solutions are bad. Among other things, it criticizes the fact that reducing the risk of accidents with motor vehicles is practically not discussed in the memorandum at all.

The ministry asked for statements by the end of March.

Ministry proposes setting a blood alcohol limit for e-scooterboarding and cycling based on his report.

The basis is that the limit promotes the overall safety of road traffic, reduces accident costs and harmonizes the blood alcohol limit practice for all vehicle traffic.

According to the report, an average of 18 cyclists die and an estimated 7,200 are injured annually in Finland. Based on hospital statistics, approximately 2,300 cyclists were treated in wards in hospitals in 2020.

To death in 19 percent of the leading accidents, the cyclist was intoxicated. 31 percent of the injured were intoxicated.

In connection with the preparation of the national traffic safety strategy for 2022, the effects of the limit of 0.5 per thousand were evaluated. Fatal accidents among cyclists were estimated to decrease by 6–10 percent and injuries by 10 percent at the alcohol limit. This would mean that about 200 fewer cyclists would be injured each year than before.

  • More often head injuries than clear driving accidents.

  • The risk factors for head injury are a drunk state of more than 1.5 per mille and the age of 15–24 years.

  • 44 percent of male cyclists who came to specialized medical care had alcohol in their blood, 12 percent of women.

  • 23 percent of seriously injured cyclists were intoxicated.

Source: Ministry of Transport and Communications report on the blood alcohol limit for cycling and micro-movement

The total cost of traffic accidents involving intoxicated cyclists was estimated in the ministry’s report to be 391 million euros per year.

Pyöräliitto questioned the annual costs in its statement.

“The assessment is based on such inaccurate and outdated information that the reading cannot be considered correct,” the statement says.

Blood alcohol limit failure to comply would be sanctioned with a significant traffic violation fee in the Ministry’s view, if criminal punishment is not considered possible.

Control would require changing the coercive measures law so that the police would have the right to blow the driver of any vehicle or give him a quick drug test. At the moment, only blowing the driver of a motor-driven vehicle is possible.

In 2022 in done in the HS gallup 63 percent of the respondents agreed with setting a blood alcohol limit for cyclists.

The corresponding percentage of electric kickboarding was 86.

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