Dutch Quirk #102: Refuse to drive drunk, but biking drunk is fine (of course)

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #102: Refuse to drive drunk, but biking drunk is fine...

Swerve to the left, swerve to the right… we all know that Dutchies love their bikes. They also love their beers with some fried snacks on the side. 🍻

Putting two and two together, we’re not too surprised that drunk cycling is a common phenomenon in the Netherlands. 🚲

And it’s not even technically illegal.

What is it?

In the Netherlands, drunk driving is frowned upon (and criminalised) just as much as in every other European country.

If your blood alcohol level is above 0.05% and the police catch you, that’s it. That’s about one to two glasses of beer or wine.

Since 2019, you risk a one-year prison sentence, losing your driving licence, or facing heavy fines for driving drunk.

And drunk cycling? Well, you know… of course, you shouldn’t.

But the Dutch government doesn’t really persecute drunk cycling. You’re just sort of advised not to do it, but you don’t risk losing your driving licence.

You may face getting a fine of up to €200, or you can be banned from driving or cycling for a number of hours (more common).

Except if you’re a serious hazard to the people driving or cycling around you, which can lead to a lawsuit. 😐

Oh, and texting while biking (a big no-no as well).

Why do they do it?

We can only speculate, but it’s probably because the Dutch cycle so much (and rely on snackbars after drinking enthusiastically) that it would put too big of a burden on the Dutch police.

Beer bikes? Yeah, that’s a thing in the Netherlands! Image: Depositphotos

Generally, the Dutch are quite comfortable cyclists.

Helmets are considered unwanted accessories, and traffic lights are seen as rough guidelines at best.

You’ll also frequently see a Dutchie cycling with a biertje in hand or balancing a crate of Heineken on the back of their bike.

Cycling drunk is just another thing to add to the list.

Why is it quirky? 

It’s another thing the Dutch feel more chill about than other countries.

(It’s also another thing that’s a bit legally ambiguous — just like cannabis. 🌿👀)

Should you join in? 

We think you should be a rebel on this one and ditch the trend.

Of course, you’re an excellent cyclist (😉), but it’s better to stay on the safe side of things.

What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Cara Räker 🇩🇪
Cara Räker 🇩🇪
Cara moved to the Netherlands at fifteen and she is here to stay! After all, there is so much to love about it, except maybe the bread (as every German will tell you). Next to finishing up her bachelor's degree in European politics (dry), Cara loves to do yoga, swim, and cook delicious veggie food.


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