Bicycle blood alcohol limit: what you need to know

Especially when the weather is nice, many of us enjoy our time on the bike. But what if you're still on your bike after a barbecue or a visit to the beer garden? Is it allowed to ride a bicycle drunk at all? The answer is: it depends. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the blood alcohol limit for bicycles and when it is assumed that you are unfit to drive.

What is the blood alcohol limit for bicycles??

The alcohol limit for bicycles and e-bikes in Germany is 1.6 per mille. This means that up to this alcohol limit you can still ride a bicycle without penalty. If you have a blood alcohol level of 1.6 or more, you are considered absolutely unfit to drive and are committing a criminal offense. This alcohol limit for bicycles is higher than for car drivers, where it is 0.5 per mille.

What are the consequences of exceeding the blood alcohol limit??

Who exceeds the alcohol limit for the bicycle, must count on sensitive consequences, since here of an absolute driving incapacity is assumed. From 1.6 per mille, there is the threat of a fine, the revocation of the driver's license and, in the worst case, even a custodial sentence of. Even if you are under 1.6 per mille, you can still be fined if you cause an accident due to alcohol or drive conspicuously.

In the case of a conviction one must count on a fine, three points in Flensburg and a medical-psychological examination (MPU). If the MPU is not passed, the driver's license can be revoked.

At first, these roads sound very drastic for a simple "drive home doored", but it is important to understand that violating the alcohol limit while cycling can not only have legal consequences, but also endanger your own safety and the safety of other road users such as pedestrians when driving drunk. It's easy to forget about the well-being of others when you want to get home quickly by bike or e-bike. If you are interested in more on the topic of bicycle accidents in traffic, we recommend our article on the current bicycle accident statistics.


Bicycle blood alcohol limit: what you need to know


Bicycle alcohol limit: The alcohol limit does not exist arbitrarily, but is intended to protect all parties involved from serious accidents.

Drunk driving limit for e-bikes

Even when riding an electric bike, there are certain rules and limits that are important to follow. But what is actually an e-bike and what are the exact consequences of a violation of the blood alcohol limit?

First of all, there is a distinction between pedelecs (also colloquially called e-bikes) and S-pedelecs. A normal pedelec or e-bike supports driving electrically up to a speed of 25 km/h. The same rules apply to pedelecs as to normal bicycles. Up to a blood alcohol level of 1.6 per mille, no penalty is to be expected here, as long as no conspicuous driving or accident is present. However, if you violate this limit, you could face harsher penalties.

An S-pedelec, on the other hand, can reach speeds of up to 45 km/h. Therefore the same rules apply here as for a car. Driving with a blood alcohol level of at least 0.5 per mille is considered a misdemeanor. From a value of 1.1 per mille it is a criminal offense. In this case, there is a threat of a one-month driving ban, two points in Flensburg and a fine of 528.50 euros. Repeat offenders must expect higher penalties.

So anyone who enjoys riding their e-bike or S-pedelec should definitely keep an eye on the alcohol limits and act responsibly.


Riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol also counts as a self-inflicted accident.

Are there any exceptions to the blood alcohol limit for bicycles??

Yes, there are exceptions to the alcohol limit. For example, cyclists who are dependent on the bicycle for their work are allowed to ride even if the alcohol limit is exceeded. This applies, for example, to bicycle messengers or commuters. The alcohol limit can also be suspended for bicycle races or other events.

How quickly does alcohol break down in the body?

It is important to understand how quickly alcohol is broken down in the body. This depends on various factors, such as.B. one's own weight, gender and age. In general, the body needs about one hour to break down 0.1 per mille of alcohol.

For example, if you drink three beers and then get on your bike, it takes about six hours for the alcohol to completely dissipate. You should not ride a bicycle during this time, as you will violate the blood alcohol limit and endanger yourself and others.

What are the physical consequences of alcohol consumption on cycling?

Alcohol significantly impairs the ability to drive. The ability to react decreases, the sense of balance is disturbed and the field of vision is restricted. The risk of causing an accident increases significantly. Anyone who has been drinking alcohol should therefore better refrain from cycling or have a sober person drive them home.

With e-bikes, the consequences can be even greater, as there is usually a higher speed on the road here. When you are drunk, you may notice that. even less and has an even shorter reaction distance because of the high speed.

Avoid alcohol consumption while cycling

How to avoid a penalty for exceeding the blood alcohol limit on a bicycle? The best way is not to drink alcohol in the first place when riding a bicycle or e-bike.

However, if you want to have a drink, plan in advance for a safe way back. Have your partner pick you up, for example. Or use alternative means of transport such as public transport or a cab.

What role do bicycle helmets play in alcohol consumption??

Even if the consumption of alcohol while cycling is generally not recommended, a bicycle helmet can save lives in an emergency. Especially alcohol-related accidents can have serious consequences. A good bicycle helmet can significantly reduce the risk of injury and prevent serious head injuries. Take a look at our bicycle helmet test.

Conclusion alcohol and cycling

Alcohol and cycling are not a good combination. The blood alcohol limit for cycling is 1.6 per mille and is punished with severe penalties if exceeded. To avoid endangering yourself and others, it is best to abstain completely from alcohol before getting on a bicycle. This is even more true when traveling on the faster e-bike, where accidents can be even faster and more severe.

If you still want to have a drink, you should plan a safe way back in advance. Because safety first!

FAQ Bicycle limit

Some questions many cyclists ask themselves when traveling in convivial company.

Can you be punished even with a lower per mille number?

Yes, even with a lower blood alcohol level you can be fined, for example if you drive in serpentines or cause an accident. Decisive is not only the consumption of alcohol, but the inability to drive resp. the danger for the traffic.

What are the consequences of drinking and driving a bicycle??

Drinking alcohol on a bicycle can result in a fine, suspension of driving license and, in the worst case, even a prison sentence.

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