A Japanese bicycling store called Koowho has created a combination bicycle lock and breathalyzer in hopes that it will prevent drunken bicyclists on roads. As Nick Lavars writes for Gizmag, although an inebriated cyclist might not seem like a large threat, “in reality any road user with impaired judgement can wreak havoc through an ignored stop sign or traffic light, whatever their choice of ride.”
Koowho writes that its “Alcoho-Lock” is the world’s first breathalyzer bike lock. The company says that in Japan, riding a bicycle while drunk is as dangerous and illegal as drunk driving. According to a chart from The League of American Bicyclists (Bike League), Colorado’s DUI law applies to bicyclists as well as motorists.
Ken McLeod writes for Bike League that specific bicycling-under-the-influence laws (BUI) are very rare in the U.S. and can leave a gray area in the law. There are only four states with BUI laws that carry specific penalties for alcohol-impaired bicyclists, he writes: California, Delaware, Kentucky, and Washington.
A study conducted in New York based on six years’ worth of data found that 21% of all fatal bicycle accidents were caused by drunken cycling, writes Jeff Wozer for DMV.org. But, he notes, the laws vary widely by state. California law, for example, provides that a drunken bicylist can be fined $730 and have the offense recorded on that person’s driver’s license, Wozer writes. But because California law does not allow officers to do sobriety checks of possibly impaired cyclists, bike riders can request blood alcohol tests to contest the charges, Wozer writes.
The Alcoho-Lock is made of aluminum and measures 5.9 by 5.2 inches, Lavars writes. It weighs one pound and is a non-metallic gold color, according to Koowho. The built-in breathalyzer will not allow the lock to be opened if it determines that the user’s alcohol concentration is above the legal limit, Lavars reports.
If Alcohol-Lock finds that the user is drunk, it connects via Bluetooth with the smartphone of whoever the user has designated as the person to contact, Lavars writes. Koowho writes: “The partner can stop their beloved cyclist from riding [the] bike.” The contact can decide whether or not to remotely unlock the lock and let the cyclist ride, Lavars writes.
Getting drunken cyclists off the road is a nice sentiment, but having to blow into your locked up bike every time you want to use it certainly isn’t. There’s also the fact that it will carry a price tag of between US$240-$320, for which you could buy several high quality steel locks. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for ways to curb your growing penchant for a late night booze cruise and don’t mind your partner meddling with your peddlin’, then the Alcoho-Lock is available for preorder via the source link below.
A comment to the Gizmag article from someone writing as “Scream.E.R.Wheels” points out what might be a flaw in the Alcoho-Lock’s design. “So, one is intoxicated and irresponsible, so get a friend / passer-by to breathe into the lock and off you go,” the comment says.
Here is Koowho’s video about Alcoho-Lock: