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Regarding the fitness to ride a bicycle under the acute influence of alcohol


To determine the threshold for the absolute inability to ride a bicycle, practical cycling tests and medical examinations at different blood alcohol concentrations were performed. Special attention was given to additional medical examinations, reaction tests and alcohol consumption under real-life conditions. Seventy-eight test subjects were included in the trials (37 females, 41 males). Five test subjects participated twice; thus, there were a total of 83 evaluable trials. Alcohol-related deficits were already identifiable at very low BACs. A significant increase in gross motoric disturbances compared to the soberness state did not regularly occur until a BAC of at least 0.8 g/kg was reached. At the BAC of 1.4 g/kg and above, no test subjects were able to achieve or surpass their sober driving results. Isolated highly alcoholised test subjects rode the bike in a manner that was not conspicuously different than the other sober test persons. Contrary to the assumptions of current German legal practise, it cannot be stated that all people are ‘absolutely impaired’ to the point of being incapable of riding bicycle at BACs of at least 1.6 g/kg.

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  1. In Germany, forensic relevant blood alcohol concentrations are expressed in gram of alcohol per kilogram of blood.


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The study was funded by the German Insurance Association/German Insurers Accident Research.

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Correspondence to Benno Hartung.

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Hartung, B., Mindiashvili, N., Maatz, R. et al. Regarding the fitness to ride a bicycle under the acute influence of alcohol. Int J Legal Med 129, 471–480 (2015).

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  • Alcohol
  • Bicycle
  • Impairment to drive
  • Driving performance
  • overall performance