Bicycling during alcohol intoxication




alcohol intoxication, bicycling performance, cognition, stability


The number of bicycling fatalities was 19 450 between 2010 and 2018 in Europe. The number of bicyclists killed when intoxicated by alcohol is harder to establish given the lack of reliable data. In Sweden, drunk bicycling is socially acceptable and legal (unless reckless). This experiment aimed to investigate how alcohol intoxication affect bicycling stability performance, executive functions, and self-rated ability. The experiment was completed on a wide treadmill that allowed control of several influencing factors such as speed and physical effort. Intoxicated and sober participants bicycled on the treadmill for five 10 minute sessions. Alcohol as administered incrementally to reach a target breath alcohol concentration level of 0.8‰. Stability decreased with intoxication; especially roll rate measurements were identified as being adequate indicators of bicycling instability. Executive function was negatively affected, and ability ratings decreased due to intoxication. The intoxicated participants were aware of their reduced ability to bicycle in a safe manner on a group level but not on an individual level. However, this insight does not affect their intention to bicycle intoxicated.


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Author Biographies

Jan Andersson, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Sweden

Jan Andersson is a professor at the research department Traffic and Road users, VTI, Linköping. His research area is traffic safety, accessibility, and mobility from a user-centered perspective. The ongoing research projects on bicycling deal with understanding of how alcohol intoxication affects bicycling ability, use of modern technology (e.g. Hövding helmets) to increase knowledge on why bicycle accidents occur and development of future functions for increased traffic safety and mobility with the help of electrification and digitization.

CRediT contribution: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Writing—original draft.

Christopher Patten, Swedish Transport Agency, Sweden

Christopher Patten is a senior advisor and researcher at the road and rail department at the Swedish Transport Agency, Borlänge. His research area comprises road traffic safety from an engineering psychology perspective, including human-machine interface and infrastructure design from a user-centered perspective.

CRediT contribution: Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Writing—review & editing.

Henriette Wallén Warner, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Sweden

Henriette Wallén Warner is a Senior Researcher at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) and an Associate Professor at Uppsala University. Her main area of research is road user behaviour with a special interest for vulnerable road users and road safety. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, delivered conference presentations in a dozen countries and on a regular basis been involved in peer-reviewing for scientific journals and international conferences.

CRediT contribution: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Writing—original draft.

Caroline Andersérs, Swedish Transport Agency, Sweden

Caroline Andersérs has a degree of Master of Science with a major in Cognitive science. She works at department at the Swedish Transport Agency, Borlänge. Her major research interest is in traffic safety and risk taking behavior.

CRediT contribution: Formal analysis, Investigation, Project administration, Resources, Writing—review & editing.

Christer Ahlström, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Sweden

Christer Ahlström is a senior researcher with the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) and an Associate Professor of biomedical signal processing with Linköping University. He specializes in acquisition, processing, and analysis of data, especially related to biomedical engineering aspects of different driver states/impairments. He is committed to bridge the gap in interdisciplinary collaborations involving engineering, medicine, and behavioural science.

CRedit contribution: Formal analysis, Writing—review & editing.

Ruggero Ceci, Swedish Transport Administration, Sweden

Ruggero Ceci is an Advisor at the Swedish Transport Administration and Adjunct Professor at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences. Experienced Safety Advisor with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration. Skilled in Ergonomics, Traffic Systems, Psychology, Road Safety, and Human Machine Interaction. Strong operations professional with a Ph.D. focused in Psychology from Stockholm University.

CRediT contribution: Conceptualization, Funding acquisition¸ Investigation, Writing—review & editing.

Liza Jakobsson, Swedish Transport Administration, Sweden

Liza Jakobsson has a degree of Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She works at the Swedish Transport Administration with traffic safety issues, such as driving under influence (alcohol/drugs) and speeding.

CRedit contribution: Funding acquisition, Investigation.


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How to Cite

Andersson, J., Patten, C., Wallén Warner, H., Andersérs, C., Ahlström, C., Ceci, R., & Jakobsson, L. (2023). Bicycling during alcohol intoxication. Traffic Safety Research, 4, 000028.