Kolkata police will conduct a breathalyser test on bicyclists from now onwards to reduce possibilities of road accidents involving cyclists in an intoxicated state.
At least 13 accidents involving bicycles have been reported in the last one month, including three deaths.
All 25 traffic guards across the city have been instructed to start the drive from this weekend and prosecute bicyclists if found riding in a state of intoxication.
Till now the police had been conducting alcohol tests only on motorists and prosecuting offenders under section 185 of the MV Act. As cycles do not fall in the category of “motor vehicles,” if any cyclist is found riding a cycle in an intoxicated state, the person would be prosecuted under section 290 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with the offence of causing public nuisance and attracts a penalty of Rs 200.
According to section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, a person can be imprisoned for up to six months or asked to pay a fine of Rs 2,000 if alcohol exceeding 30mg per 100ml is detected in the bloodstream through a breathalyser. Second and subsequent offences can lead to imprisonment for two years or a fine of Rs 3,000.
Bicyclists will have to undergo a breathalyser test and if the quantity of alcohol in someone’s bloodstream is found to exceed 30mg per 100ml, then that person would be prosecuted.
Senior officers in the traffic department said CCTV footage analysis of the 13 accidents involving cyclists show that the bicyclists were moving in a random and haphazard way that might have resulted in the accident.
Bicycle movement is barred or restricted on the majority of the thoroughfares across the city as cycles are considered as slow moving vehicles and are vulnerable to accidents on the main roads.
However, following restrictions on movement of public vehicles, cycles had emerged as one of the most important modes of transport and also to avoid the crowded public vehicles during the pandemic.
Kolkata police, too, have been lenient in not prosecuting cyclists even when bicycles were found on the thoroughfares where their movement was barred keeping the pandemic situation in mind.
“But this (rise in the number of cycles on the roads) has also increased accidents involving cycles. After pedestrians, cyclists are most vulnerable on the roads as they do not wear headgears but have to ride with motor vehicles whose speed is many times their own speed,” said an officer in the traffic department.