Poloneses reclamam de leis 'draconianas' que punem ciclistas bêbados com prisão

Atualizado em  11 de setembro, 2012 - 11:50 (Brasília) 14:50 GMT

Ministers in Poland are considering changing the country's law on drunk cycling. More than 200,000 people have been given prison sentences since the law was adopted 12 years ago.

Reportagem: Adam Easton

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It's exercise time for the inmates at this semi-open prison on the outskirts of Warsaw. Among the prisoners is 41-year-old Slawomir. He'd cycled to buy groceries when he bumped into a friend he'd not seen since his schooldays. They drank a few beers, and Slawomir was caught by the police on his way home. He says he doesn't feel like a criminal.

Slawomir, prisoner:
"I think this is too strict. I have a family, a 9-year-old son, and all of a sudden this has happened. My family is very sad. It's my daughter's wedding on Saturday and I don't know if I can go, probably not. I think a different type of punishment would be more useful."

The alcohol limit for both cycling and driving is low, just one beer and you can be over it. Most offenders on bicycles are usually fined and banned from cycling. If you can't pay, or break the ban even while sober, you'll probably end up in prison. Pawel Moczydlowski, the former head of the Polish Prison Service, says the law is both draconian and ineffective.

Pawel Moczydlowski, former head of the Polish Prison Service:
"This is a crazy policy and we have overcrowded prisons. For me it's not possible to accept this law because the people who are drunk and they are on the bicycle usually they are alcoholic. These people are sick and the reaction should be to treat these people, not to punish these people."

For almost a decade, there's often been more drunk cyclists in Polish prisons than drunk drivers. In terms of the law, one cycling enthusiasts' group says, Poland is the Saudi Arabia of Europe.

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inmates (prisioneiros) people serving a jail sentence

fined (multados)made to pay a sum of money for breaking the law

sober (sóbrio) not drunk

draconian (draconiano) excessively harsh and severe

ineffective (ineficiente) not producing the desired result

alcoholic (alcoólatra) addicted to drinking alcohol

to treat (tratar)to give medical care (to someone)

cycling enthusiasts (apaixonados por ciclismo) people extremely interested and passionate about cycling

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