Wednesday, December 20, 2006

carfree and drunk in Ann Arbor: getting home

As the season's festivities pick up pace and the snow (hopefully) falls thick and cold, carfree folks around Ann Arbor gain a distinct advantage over cagers. With mulled wine, eggnog, and a variety of other social lubricants flowing freely as we gather repeatedly with friends, families, and co-workers in jovial celebration, drivers are faced with drunk-driving concerns. How on earth is anyone supposed to get home from a drinking binge if they aren't allowed to drive?

Fortunately, while cagers have raged the year away behind the wheel, we've grown quite accustomed to traveling (drunk or sober) without a car. We tend to visit local bars within easy walking distance from home. We are already familiar with the bus routes for events that end before AATA service does. We've got a few cab companies already programed into our phones and we know that we can get a flat rate cab by calling Nightride (734.528.5432) once AATA service ends. We all likely know a few designated drivers who are willing to offer a ride. And a few of us have, for better or worse, probably become somewhat adept at operating a bicycle after a few drinks.

In regards to the last, we certainly don't advocate biking drunk, even if it is a helluva lot safer for others than drunk driving. Besides, it is against the law to operate a bicycle under the influence, even though we have never heard of anyone getting pulled over for it. The biggest risk for an apres-soir cycists is likely to be (as usual) cars. Despite increased enforcement and a media blitz reminding the public of the dangers, there is a significant increase in alcohal-related car crashes every holiday season. We're not saying sobriety will save you from these idiots, but it may give you that vital edge in veering into the bushes to avoid cars drifting from the opposing lane. Remember that it would be easy to call a cab or catch a ride and come back tomorrow to grab your bike. Just make sure it is locked up.

Also, keep in mind that non-car options are likely to be a little more in demand. You may want to call your cab a little earlier (or later).


Chuck W said...

Well, actually my Uncle was arrested for drunk cycling, so it can happen.

Murph said...

I used to have a co-worker who praised himself for biking to the bar so that he wasn't driving drunk.

Boy, did we make fun of him when he broke his collarbone while biking home drunk one night. (Nobly enough, when he realized that he was coming up on those pedestrians *awfully* fast, he chose to sacrifice himself and swerve into a streetlight pole rather than run them down. Ouch.)