Although most DUI and DWI cases involve automobiles, trucks, SUVs and sometimes motorcycles, there are a large number of DUI cases involving vehicles that may be quite unlike the standard car, such as a boat. Many times courts are faced with cases that don't even involve a motorized vehicle, such as drunk biking.
While bicycles may not pose the same threat as motor vehicles, drunk biking can have serious consequences such as causing property damage, harm to yourself, and harm to others. Riding your bicycle after you have been drinking should never be taken lightly. Keep in mind that each state treats drunk biking differently and you should be sure to check the laws in your state for the most up-to-date information. Here's an overview of how DUI laws treat bicycles.
Bicycles and DUI Laws
States and courts are split on the subject of drunk biking. Some people automatically doubt the amount of harm a bicyclist can cause to others, considering the nature of a bicycle. However, some states and their laws acknowledge that, even assuming a bicyclist likely only harms themselves by drunk biking, an injury to a drunken rider can have a profound effect on others, especially their family members.
In general, where a state law on drunk driving specifically prohibits the operation of a "motor vehicle," the chances are very high that the law will be interpreted by courts as not applying to bicycles or similar man-powered vehicles.
On the other hand, where statutes apply more generally to all "vehicles," courts sometimes find that bicycles fall into this category. A local attorney can be of valuable assistance in finding out what, if any laws, apply in these circumstances, and can determine whether or not courts in the area have applied state DUI laws to cyclists.
State Laws on Drunk Biking
In any case involving an allegation of drunk bicycling, the first place to look to is the DUI/DWI law of that state. Some states exclude bicycles entirely from their definition of "vehicles." Other states limit the application of their DUI or DWI laws to "motor vehicles." But some states treat bicycles as just another vehicle on the road, regardless of the language used within their DUI laws. In these states, drunk bike riders face the same potential legal landmines as any other drunk driver.
For example, California treats cyclists the same as any other driver on the road. In such cases, intoxicated riders may be charged with a DUI / DWI offense and will follow the same legal process as motor vehicle drivers.
Arrested for Biking Under the Influence? Talk to a Lawyer
Even if you had the best intentions when you decided to leave the car in the garage and ride you bike to the bar instead, you can still be charged with drunk biking. Since bicyclists share public roadways with automobiles, they are subject to the same traffic laws. Learn more about your drunk biking charge today by speaking to a skilled DUI attorney in your area.