In France? Watch Out for Drunk Cyclists


The next time you’re on a bicycle wine tour in the Bordeaux region, think twice about getting onto your bike with a buzz.

French police are on the lookout for drunk cyclists.

Ten cyclists spent the night at the Bordeaux police station last week. Their blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.

“I really had the impression that I had fallen asleep, that I was living a nightmare and that I would wake up,” 49-year-old Gaëtane S., a woman who was part of the group arrested, told France Bleu Gironde radio. “I had five glasses of wine. I got onto my bike and was arrested by two cops in central Bordeaux. I ended in the basement of the Bordeaux police station. It’s quite an ordeal to be in police custody. You’re asked to take off your pants, your shoe laces, your bra and you’re thrown into a jail cell. I was telling myself ‘don’t cry, don’t cry.”

Benjamin F., 30, another member of the group, recalled, “We crossed Bordeaux at a speed of 50 mph, with the flashing lights and the siren on.” 

The group was released from jail the following morning.

The police have intensified controls on the two-wheelers in the Bordeaux area after recent accidents that resulted in six deaths since the beginning of the year. According to the police, more than 60 percent of the accidents involving injuries in the Bordeaux area are caused by two-wheelers. In 10 days, more than 1,000 tickets were issued to bicycle and motorcycle users -- a good reminder that cyclists are also subject to traffic laws and signs.   

It’s not good being a Bordelais on two wheels these days…

A 19-year-old cyclist took the police on a 10-minute chase across town last week. Forget about your typical highway police/gangster car pursuit. Non, we’re talking here about the police chasing … a bicycle. The cyclist ran a red light and continued pedalling away despite police orders to stop. The young man took one-way streets, crossed roads avoiding incoming traffic, tried to kick cops who were approaching him, rode on sidewalks, almost hitting pedestrians, and finally fell off his bike. The man was tested for alcohol and use of illicit substances. But  this time the results came back negative.      

Read more blogs by Christophe Schpoliansky

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