April 12, 2009

Poland Hates Them Some Drunk Cyclists

In Europe, where more people use bicycles to get around, having hammered cyclists is indeed dangerous. And the Polish Courts are going to law down the law.

Under a law passed in 2000, anyone riding a bike under the influence of alcohol faces a fine or up to two years in prison, depending on the level of their intoxication.

Many courts here apply the stricter penalty and the average sentence is 11.5 months imprisonment.

Such a state of affairs has been criticised by both the prison service and some judges.

Jaroslaw Sielecki, a 37-year-old judge from western Poland, called it absurd and draconian, adding that it can drag whole families into poverty.

He argued that intoxicated cyclists should be treated like drunken pedestrians, who face a fine rather than jail, as both use their own muscles to achieve motion.

The Constitutional Court, however, ruled that cyclists use public roads and are considerably more dangerous because of the speed they can travel.


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